He is closing in on some former Brewers. Cecil Cooper is 287th all time with 1,012 runs scored and Greg Vaughn is 286th with 1,017. Only one current member of the team has scored more than Cameron: Bench coach Willie Randolph, who is tied for 144th all time with 1,239 runs.
Cameron remembers scoring his first run in his third Major League game for the White Sox in 1995. He doubled to score Ron Karkovice for his first big league RBI, then scored on Tim Raines' double as part of a four-run rally against Tigers pitcher C.J. Nitkowski. Fifteen years and 999 runs later, Cameron scored No. 1,000 on J.J. Hardy's groundout Tuesday night.
"It's cool that I've been able to do certain things with different teams," Cameron said. "I got my first hit with the White Sox, had my first 20/20 season in Cincinnati, hit my 100th homer in Seattle, hit 30 home runs with the Mets, hit my 200th home run for San Diego, and now here. It's kind of cool to do so many things in different places. As much as I've played, I have an appreciation for some of those things."
What milestones are next? Cameron is five stolen bases shy of 300 and 88 RBIs shy of 1,000.
Whether he shoots for those marks in a Brewers uniform remains to be seen. Cameron, who will turn 37 in January, remains one of baseball's best center fielders, but he's making $10 million this season and is eligible for free agency in October. The Brewers might be unwilling to offer him arbitration this winter because of his cost.
But Cameron said he would like to return. He wouldn't get into specifics about what it would take for the Brewers to keep him.
"I would be willing to make a sacrifice to make that happen," he said. "You just never know how it's going to work out financially. It would be cool, because I like it here. Doug [Melvin, Brewers general manager] is pretty straightforward, and it's just a matter of what direction they want to go in."
As for how many more seasons Cameron intends to play, he said, "I guess I'll know it's time when nobody wants me anymore."
Cameron is 3-for-23 in career at-bats against John Smoltz, who starts for the Cardinals in the finale of the Brewers' brief road trip. Milwaukee's backup center fielder at the moment is Jody Gerut, who is 0-for-1 against Smoltz.
MIL: LHP Manny Parra (9-10, 6.66 ERA)
Staked to leads of 5-0, 6-2 and 8-4, Parra let the Pirates hang around on Friday by allowing six runs on 10 hits and four walks. The Brewers hung on to win and Parra improved to 6-2 over his past eight starts despite a 6.49 ERA in that span. "We have a good offense," Parra said in a tense exchange with reporters after the game. "That's what it means. A real good offense. That's pitching with the offense we've got." In a more reflective moment, he added, "For my own personal satisfaction, I would like to pitch better. But at the end of the day, everyone in this clubhouse is happy when we win, so that's all that matters." Parra's best outing of the year was against the Cardinals on July 9, when he worked seven shutout innings in his return from a three-week demotion to Triple-A Nashville.
STL: RHP John Smoltz (3-5, 6.71 ERA)
Getting back to the National League has been very much to Smoltz's liking. In two starts, he's allowed a single run, racked up 15 strikeouts and issued just one walk. There remains some question as to how his surgically repaired shoulder will hold up on an every-fifth-day schedule, but in this case he even gets to benefit from an extra day of rest. Beyond that, acquiring Smoltz looks like a masterstroke for the Cardinals thus far. He'll try to go to 3-0 as a Cardinal in the finale of a midweek series with the rival Brewers.
According to SI.com's Jon Heyman, three teams showed interest in Cameron before the Aug. 31 deadline to acquire players for postseason rosters. "With Cameron a free agent at season's end," Heyman wrote, "there was really no great reason for the Brewers to keep him, but they did." Melvin said Tuesday that he wasn't willing to trade players away unless he got quality in return. ... Former big leaguer Chris Capuano made his debut on Wednesday as he continues rehab from right elbow surgery, but otherwise the Rookie-level Helena Brewers just can't buy a break. On Tuesday, according to the Helena Independent Record, the team was already missing outfielders Chris Ellington, who was hit in the arm during batting practice the day before, and Chad Stang, who had the flu, when infielder Cutter Dykstra was hit in the face by a ceremonial first pitch and scratched from the lineup. The night ended with a 7-3 loss to Missoula. "That's just the way it's going for us," Helena manager Rene Gonzales told the newspaper. ... Who will start for the Brewers at shortstop in Thursday's series finale? J.J. Hardy has started both games since his Sept. 1 callup and he's 3-for-8 with a homer off Smoltz, but he's also hitting .133 this season in day games. Manager Ken Macha is trying to figure out the best way to split time between Hardy and Alcides Escobar this month.
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Official game notes
Friday: Brewers (Jeff Suppan, 6-8, 5.20) vs. Giants (Barry Zito, 9-11, 3.94), 7:05 p.m. CT
Saturday: Brewers (Yovani Gallardo, 12-10, 3.56) vs. Giants (Matt Cain, 12-4, 2.50), 3:05 p.m. CT
Sunday: Brewers (Braden Looper, 11-6, 4.92) vs. Giants (Jonathan Sanchez, 6-11, 4.15), 1:05 p.m. CT