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09/24/08 1:56 AM ET

Cameron continues leading the way

Center fielder remaining in No. 1 spot pays dividends Tuesday

MILWAUKEE -- Acting Brewers manager Dale Sveum has no intention of dropping veteran center fielder Mike Cameron from the leadoff hole.

"'Till death do us part," Sveum joked Tuesday night.

That insistence paid off in the Brewers' 7-5 win over the Pirates on Tuesday. Cameron, who entered the game in an 0-for-10 drought and hitting .118 over his previous 68 at-bats, finished 2-for-4 -- including a clutch, two-run double that briefly gave the Brewers a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning.

Cameron also scored a run for the Brewers, who needed to win to remain one game behind the Mets in the chase for the National League Wild Card. Both teams have five games to play entering Wednesday.

"Everybody knows the importance of what's happening," Cameron said. "That's about as good as it gets tonight. Maybe we'll have something better for you tomorrow."

Despite his drought, Cameron has been hitting leadoff since Sveum took over as manager Sept. 16 and shook up a slumping lineup.

"My feeling is that Cameron is what he is," Sveum said. "The back end of that is you want him to get hot. He can look bad for a week here and there, and then all of a sudden he can carry a team."

Cameron also has been very good against the Pirates this season, hitting .405 (17-for-42) against them entering the series with five home runs and 11 RBIs in 11 games.

"That's our center fielder, and to me it's a good option," Sveum said. "We don't really have that bona fide leadoff guy anyway. We have a mix of guys, and hopefully a lot of them are coming out of it right now. ... The fact of the matter is the middle of the lineup does the damage anyway. It's a bonus if someone else does it."

The Brewers also activated third baseman Russell Branyan (right oblique strain) from the disabled list Tuesday, but Sveum said he would be used off the bench. That means Craig Counsell will continue to start at third against right-handed pitchers.

Counsell went 4-for-24 (.167) over the Brewers' recent road trip.

"I'm comfortable with him," Sveum said. "When the big boys hit, we've got enough offense in there to do the job. Counsell is in there defensively. He's been there, too. He's won two World Series. He's been through all this, and it's a glove you can count on day in and day out, and that's just as important as having somebody who can pop a home run."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.