By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Sep 07, 2010 at 11:01 PM

In nearly two seasons with the Brewers, Trevor Hoffman has thrown numerous locker room ceremonies to commemorate the achievements of his teammates.

Tuesday night, it was his teammates' turn to throw the party.

Hoffman worked a scoreless ninth inning, allowing just a single to Colby Rasmus, to preserve the Brewers' 4-2 victory over St. Louis and clinch the 600th save of his career.

Considering the way Hoffman's year started -- blowing five of his first 10 save opportunities and losing the closer's job to rookie John Axford -- it was a special achievement.

"September isn't the idea I had of walking into this room and talking to you guys about this, but nonetheless, it doesn't take any of the edge off, by any means," Hoffman said. "It almost enhances the idea of being disciplined and really, if you love the game, it's going to love you back." 

"It allowed me to think about things my mom and dad talked about. Hard work isn't easy. Things in life, you have to earn. They were an example of that, they way they lived our lives and they way they expressed that to us as kids."

As soon as the final out -- a grounder to shortstop Craig Counsell -- was recorded, the Brewers stormed out of the dugout and from the bullpen to congratulate Hoffman in a scene reminiscent of Sept. 2008, when CC Sabathia pitched the final out of the Brewers' victory over the Cubs to clinch the National League Wild Card.

"Those kind of moments you see when teams have success and they head into the post season," Hoffman said. "To have your teammates have that kind of outpouring is hard to describe. It shows you that you're doing things right and you're having a positive impact; you appreciate the game, you appreciate them and they appreciate you back."

Making the moment even more special for Hoffman, his family was on-hand to see the game. His wife, Tracy,  and three sons, who were able to miss school to make the trip, joined the on-field celebration.

Hoffman is usually a stoic and straight-forward guy, despite the game's outcome. When he began talking about his family, the veteran choked up slightly. 

"I'm sure they would have liked to stay out of school a little longer," Hoffman joked. "It was important, though, that they were a part of this. I might wear this uniform as a ballplayer but to them, I'm dad."

Manager Ken Macha faced a tough decision earlier in the season with whether or not to remove the struggling Hoffman from the closer's role.

Once Axford established himself in that role, and with Hoffman starting to show signs of recovery, Macha had to find opportunities to get Hoffman to his milestone.

"His work ethic and perseverance paid off," said Macha.

No words: Rookie catcher Jonathan Lucroy walked out to the mound before Hoffman started the ninth inning.

What did he say to the future Hall of Famer?

"Not much," Lucroy said. "We just went over the signs and that's about it.

"He knows what he's doing out there."

Boys of winter: Thanks to some mid-season adjustments and September call-ups, there is a growing number of rookies settling into the Brewers' clubhouse these days.

In addition to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who broke camp with the team, relievers John Axford and Zach Braddock and Lucroy have made the most of their opportunities and seem to have played their way into the team's long-term plans. Lorenzo Cain has performed will in center field and might be on a path towards the starting job next season.

The call-ups, though, like infielder Mat Gamel, will only see limited action as the team is fairly set in terms of position players.

With that in mind, the team is encouraging many of those young players to continue playing this winter.

"Being in the Major Leagues is one thing, performing at the level you should be is another thing," Macha said. "If you want to be productive in the big leagues next year, go play winter ball."

Gamel getting some work: Speaking of Gamel, he's getting his work in at third, first and in right field -- though he's not expected to see significant playing time at any of those positions.

Instead, he's being groomed to possibly relocate from third. Gamel could be a candidate to play first if Prince Fielder is traded, or could move to right if Hart were to move to the infield.

No matter where he ends up -- and he's already expressed his feelings on playing first base -- he's far from ready to play big league defense.

"He needs work," Macha said.

Finally: Prince Fielder's Sunday-afternoon home run was something of an abnormality this season.

The three-run blast, coming in the first inning of Philadelphia right-hander Kyle Kendrick, was Fielder's first home run with more than one man on base all season.

In all, 24 of Fielder's 30 home runs this year have been solo shots, a big reason why his RBI numbers (73 through Monday).

More help: The team called up two more players Sunday after Class AAA Nashville wrapped up the American Association season. Infielder Luis Cruz and right-handed pitcher Brandon Kintzler were both in uniform Tuesday night against the Cardinals.

Weeks nominated for honor: Rickie Weeks has been named the team's nominee for baseball's Roberto Clemente Award, given to a player in recognition of his charitable efforts.

Weeks' "Rickie's Rookies" program provides tickets and t-shirts to disadvantaged children for 25 games each season. In addition, he provides a van for the Boys & Girls Club of Milwaukee to transport kids to events around town and has been a supporter of the Beckum-Stapleton Little League program.

Quick hits: Heading into play Tuesday night, Brewers starters had only allowed nine earned runs in the previous five games ... Eight of RHP John Axford's 20 saves this season have required four or more outs ... Ryan Braun is batting .402 (49-for-122) over his last 32 games ... Prince Fielder has played in 323 consecutive games, the longest streak in Major League Baseball ... His 160 home runs since the start of the 2007 season are second-most in baseball ... With his next home run, Ryan Braun would have 20 on the year, giving the Brewers five players with at least 20 for the fourth time in franchise history. ... Former Brewers outfielder Jim Edmonds remains on the disabled list for Cincinnati ... Nashville hitting coach Sandy Gurrero was added to Macha's staff in an effort to provide a Spanish-speaking coach to help the development of Escobar and Carlos Gomez.

Injury report: LHP Doug Davis will throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, as he continues recovering from an elbow injury. He's been on the disabled list since July 16.

He said it: "It was an interesting evening ... one coach, one manager, one player and one fan ... guys that missed Hoffman's 600th." -- Macha, on the Tuesday night ejections.

This week: The Brewers wrap up the season series with the Cardinals tonight at Miller Park. Lefty Chris Capuano will face off against St. Louis left-hander Jamie Garcia. Thursday is an off day and the Cubs come to Miller Park to open a weekend series Friday night.