Branyan, Cameron homer to lead Brewers past Jays

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Mike Cameron ran right through. Corey Hart chose a slick slide instead.

The Brewers scored twice on a pair of heady baserunning plays in the fourth inning and Russell Branyan and Cameron homered in Milwaukee's 5-4 victory over the reeling Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

"A lot of times we do stuff like that," Hart said, "that helps just as much but sometimes gets overlooked."

Hart, who snapped an 0-for-18 slide, doubled and advanced to third on a popout to right to start the fourth. He scored when he slid under catcher Gregg Zaun's tag after Cameron hit a grounder about 15 feet to Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum.

"I knew it was going to be close," said Hart, who popped up and pumped his fist. "He tagged me kind of up high. ... He knew, no big fuss. He knew I got in."

Said Zaun: "I probably could've done a better job of getting my knee down. He made a great slide and got in between me."

Cameron, who homered in the sixth, scored moments later by stealing second and reaching third on Jason Kendall's single. Brewers starter Ben Sheets dropped a bunt that Zaun fielded and threw to first for the second out, and Cameron broke for home. Zaun got the return throw but failed to make the tag as Cameron scored standing up with a quick jab step around the catcher.

"It was a natural reaction," Cameron said of his decision not to slide. "He was already too low. If I slide, there's a chance they call me out. So on the safe side I just ran through it."

Brewers manager Ned Yost said the safety squeeze was not on in that situation, but Cameron read the play correctly. Zaun said he thought he did everything he could.

"It was one of those weird plays that there's really no defense for," said Zaun, who drove in three runs for the Blue Jays. "I tried the best I could to look him back but if I waited a whole lot longer I might not get the guy at first base and then it's bases loaded and we don't get anybody out. They executed it perfectly."

Still, Toronto had its chances thanks to Milwaukee's bullpen.

Relievers Carlos Villanueva, Brian Shouse, Guillermo Mota and Salomon Torres, who picked up his ninth save by getting four outs, combined to give up two runs off six hits after Sheets (8-1) left with a 4-2 lead following Cameron's homer in the sixth. The Blue Jays left 10 men on base and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

After Sheets departed, Joe Inglett's RBI ground out off Villanueva in the seventh made it 4-3, but Hart answered with an RBI single in the bottom half to push the lead back to two.

Toronto pulled to 5-4 on Zaun's solo homer with two outs in the eighth off Mota. David Eckstein followed with a double and Mota was yanked after a walk for Torres, who walked the bases loaded but got Inglett to ground out.

"Those two-out RBI chances, those aren't gimmes. You've got to get a base hit to drive in runs. That's what makes them so tough," Zaun said. "Disappointing."

In the ninth, Torres allowed a leadoff single to Scott Rolen, but forced a ground out and a double play to end it.

"He pounds the strike zone with a good pitch, his pitch, the sinker. He goes right at him," Sheets said of the Brewers' closer. "If you can get it to him, you know what you're going to get from him. You're going to get competitive pitches. He's going to get in there and compete and throw strikes."

Branyan's shot in the second off Marcum (5-4) was his second in as many days and ninth since a May 25 call-up. Marcum, who struck out six in six innings, allowed four runs off six hits and a walk.

Sheets gave up four hits, threw two wild pitches and walked four, but none of the free passes came around to score.

"I definitely didn't get stronger, but we made it stand up," Sheets said. "I just couldn't have a quick inning. Really, that was the thing of the day. I'd get two outs and couldn't get that quick inning."

Game notes
Toronto fell to 4-12 in its last 16 games. ... It was Milwaukee's ninth straight home win over Toronto dating to Sept. 17, 1996. It's the first series the teams have played in Milwaukee since 1997, after the Brewers moved to the NL in '98. Milwaukee has a chance for the sweep on Thursday. ... Brewers SS J.J. Hardy (left shoulder) returned to the lineup after missing five games. ... Blue Jays RF Alex Rios was out of the starting lineup but pinch hit in the ninth. He's 4-for-20 with six strikeouts since a 10-game hitting streak.