Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 8/7/12
MILWAUKEE For 21 innings from Saturday through Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers were given a rude reminder of the struggles the offense endured through much of the season's first two months. In that span, the Brewers were held scoreless by the Cardinals and Reds, as St. Louis swept them and Cincinnati was hoping to do much of the same. But after pitcher Yovani Gallardo hit an RBI single to shallow left field in the fifth inning of Monday's game against the Reds, knocking in the team's first run since the first inning on Saturday, the Brewers' offense reignited the fire that had made it one of the better run-producing groups in baseball for the last few months. With a group that now includes the top two extra-base hitters in the National League -- Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart -- the No. 4 through No. 7 slots in the Brewers' lineup exploded for four runs in the sixth inning to give the Milwaukee bullpen just enough run support to hold onto a win, despite giving up three runs in the last three innings. Most of that support came from that monster sixth inning though, as Ramirez -- who's been the offense's most consistent contributor recently -- slammed a solo shot over the left field wall to start the scoring in the inning. Just two pitches later, Hart followed suit, slamming his 21st home run of the season to nearly the same spot as Ramirez. It took just one more batter before the Brewers could tally their next round-tripper, as Martin Maldonado hit his first home run in a month -- topping off his best game in a long time, a 3-for-4 performance with two doubles and that two-run home run. It was the way Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has expected the offense to perform all season. "I expect that all the time because I think they're a pretty good offense," Roenicke said. "It's nice to see. ... That was a good offense. That was a lot of good at-bats." The performance was especially surprising given the fact that it came off of Cincinnati pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who has given the Brewers fits all this season and prior to 2012. In the three appearances Arroyo had against Milwaukee this season, he allowed an average of just two runs per game, while striking out 19 total batters. "I know Arroyo gives us problems," Roenicke said. "He's tricky and knows how to pitch, and we did a nice job with him." But with many of his pitches left up in the strike zone, including several pitches out of his arsenal of breaking balls, Arroyo was chased after just 5.1 innings -- his shortest performance against the Brewers this season. "Guys swung the bat well today," Gallardo said. "They took advantage of the pitches he left up in the zone. Other than that, he was throwing the ball well. It was just that inning." But for an offense that struggled in a challenging weekend, that one inning could mean a lot for the rest of this series -- a three-game set with the NL Central leaders. And for one night, even without the help of their own best player -- Ryan Braun went 0-for-4 -- the Brewers were able to reignite a sleeping giant on offense. "We were finally able to put something together," Maldonado said. Follow Ryan Kartje on Twitter.
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