ST. LOUIS -- It was Brewers shortstop Jean Segura and his .361 batting average atop the National League leaderboard at the start of Sunday's games. The day before, it was Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez at .352.
The teammates have enjoyed jockeying for that spot in recent days.
"I told him a few days ago, 'Hey, it would be awesome if we go like this the whole year,'" said Gomez, who slipped to third behind Segura and Cincinnati's Joey Votto as of Sunday morning. "But it's a long way to go."
He added: "I have to get back up there today."
Gomez would take his hacks from the cleanup spot Sunday, his first Major League start hitting fourth. Before he walked through the clubhouse doors on Sunday morning, it had been the only spot Gomez had never seen his name in a Major League starting lineup.
He entered the day hitting .345, including .405 (45-for-111) with six home runs and 16 RBIs over his last 31 games despite a mostly quiet road trip (7-for-34). More than half of Gomez's hits entering Sunday (30 of 51) were up the middle or to the opposite field, and four of his six home runs were to center.
Whether the day would bring four hits or four strikeouts, batting cleanup meant something to Gomez.
"Big progress," he said.
When reminded that he batted fourth in a handful of Spring Training games, Gomez said with a big smile, "Spring Training doesn't count. We are in business here."