MILWAUKEE -- Wins on the field are translating to sales at the box office for the Brewers, who will draw 3 million fans this season for the third time in four years.Chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger said the club was selling 10,000 tickets per day and would sell ticket No. 3 million in the next day or two. The franchise's all-time attendance record was set in 2008, when the National League Wild Card-winning Brewers played in front of 3,068,458 fans. "The team on the field is the driver of that," Schlesinger said. "But look around Major League Baseball at some of the attendance challenges. We have a chance to out-draw the Dodgers. We will be very close to the Red Sox in total attendance. "Our all-time attendance record was back in 2008, and I don't think we'll get there, but we should get within striking distance. Based on current projections, we should end the season with our second-highest attendance in Brewers history, and that sets us up great for next year." Schlesinger made it clear that tickets do remain for the Brewers' remaining home games. Beginning Tuesday, the start of a key series against the Cardinals, the team has 15 home games left. The 3 million mark is quite an achievement considering the Brewers play in baseball's smallest market. Sales efforts are boosted by the team on the field -- the Brewers had a Major League-best 49-16 record at home through Saturday night -- but also by Miller Park itself, where the retractable dome eliminates weather concerns and allows the Brewers to annually rank among baseball's top five teams in group ticket sales. "The more time that I've spent in other cities, the more I realize how good we have it here," left fielder Ryan Braun said. "It's one of the best places in baseball to play right now, and I think people around the league recognize that."
Hart falls single shy of cycle
MILWAUKEE -- Corey Hart got the tough ones out of the way early Saturday night, leaving him only a single shy of completing the seventh cycle in Brewers history. In the end, Hart never got his shot in a 6-4 win over the Cubs.Hart doubled and scored in the first inning, hit an RBI triple in the second and homered in the seventh. He walked in his other plate appearance, and he would have batted third in the bottom of the ninth inning had John Axford not closed out the Brewers' win. Was Hart thinking about it? You bet he was. "I thought about it before I hit the homer," said Hart, who singled in his first at-bat Sunday to complete the cycle a day late. "Any time you get the triple out of the way early, and I already had the double, it's hard not to think about it. I've never had one." Eric Johnson, who writes the blogs Brew Crew Ball and Brewerfan.net, points out that Hart is only the 31st player since 1919 to go 3-for-3 and finish a single shy of the cycle. The Blue Jays' Jose Bautista did it on April 22 this season, and before that, the last was the Pirates' Jason Bay in 2007. The only other Brewer on that list is Paul Molitor, who doubled, tripled, homered and dropped a sacrifice bunt in a June 2, 1983, win over the A's.
Roenicke: Even in cold streak, Yuni contributing
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke chalks up shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt's current cold streak to bad luck, and he praised the player's contributions on defense.Betancourt batted .369 in his first 28 games after the All-Star break, temporarily quieting calls from Brewer Nation for the team to find a new starting shortstop. But now, he's vanished again from the offense, with a .115 average (6-for-52) in 13 games since Aug. 15. "I don't think he's where he was before he got hot, but in his at-bats, he's still hitting balls hard," Roenicke said. "He did it again [Saturday] night. It seems like every day, he hits something really hard. Sometimes he's getting a hit, sometimes he's not." One key stat backs that analysis: Betancourt's batting average on balls in play during his current cool streak is .111, way below average and an indicator of bad luck. As a team, the Brewers are batting .298 on balls in play this season, which was also the National League average entering Sunday. The Brewers will have another shortstop option once second baseman Rickie Weeks returns from a left ankle injury, freeing versatile veteran Jerry Hairston Jr. to move around the diamond. But Betancourt will remain the regular shortstop. "I wouldn't mind looking at [Hairston] there, but I don't think there's a reason to say, 'I want to see if he can play there instead of Yuni,'" Roenicke said.
The Brewers missed another sign in Saturday's win over the Cubs with Yuniesky Betancourt at the plate, but this time it was not Betancourt's fault. Casey McGehee, who was at first base, misread a sign calling for a hit-and-run, and he was caught stealing.The Brewers will continue working to clean that up, but manager Ron Roenicke was not concerned. He said third-base coach Ed Sedar is continuously quizzing players on the team's signs. "It happens to every team. Sometimes you may go 3-4 months without putting on that sign," he said. "Sometimes they miss a sign or sometimes they see a sign that isn't on, which was the case [Saturday]."
Infielder Felipe Lopez informed the Brewers he will report to Triple-A Nashville on Monday. The team outrighted Lopez to the Minors on Wednesday, but he had the right of refusal and was granted time by Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin to look for a Major League job elsewhere. Instead, he opted to accept the assignment and remain in the organization.