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Brewers' Hart beats them when it matters

The SportsXchange

Unlike left fielder Ryan Braun and third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who rank among the NL leaders in many offensive categories, Milwaukee first baseman Corey Hart hasn't gotten a ton of attention this season.

But, slowly and surely, Hart has put together a solid campaign. After going 1-for-4 Sunday in Milwaukee's 12-8 win over Pittsburgh, the Brewers' No. 5 hitter was batting .276 with 26 homers and 72 RBI. He has come up with many big hits, including his walk-off homer Saturday night in the bottom of the ninth that beat Pittsburgh 3-2.

"The batting average doesn't tell the whole story for us," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's got some big hits for us. Game-winners. And I look at that a lot.

"It's nice when you have a guy who in the second inning drives in two runs and then the next game in the fifth inning he drives in a couple more, and at the end of the year he's got a nice RBI total. When the game's on the line, what do these guys do? That's more important to me."

Hart, who has a history of being streaky at the plate, was batting .362 (25-for-69) with four homers and 15 RBI over his last 18 games. He helped fuel a run that pushed the Brewers back toward the .500 mark after falling far off the pace in midseason.

Hart ranks among the NL leaders with 62 extra-base hits and 256 total bases. And he has done that while making an in-season switch from right field to first base, where he has exceeded expectations defensively.

Hart has struck out more than usual -- 139 times -- but has managed to avoid major dry spells that plagued him in the past.

"He has been more consistent," Roenicke said. "This year, it seems like he hasn't gotten into that super-hot long stage but he's been more consistent. And he's gotten big hits for us more spread out, consistently."
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