"Keep pushing, keep pushing, keep pushing until whenever, Sept. 28 or whatever it is," Cameron said. "Then you look up and see where you're at. I would think everyone here knows that this is a pretty damn good baseball team."
The stumbling Brewers just haven't shown it on this homestand. Will Venable hit his first career home run and the San Diego Padres beat Milwaukee 5-2, handing the Brewers their fourth consecutive loss.
With all of the NL's playoff hopefuls taking the day off, maybe Milwaukee should have, too, even with principal owner Mark Attanasio in the crowd. The Brewers' wild-card lead was trimmed to four games over Philadelphia, and they fell five games behind NL Central-leading Chicago with 22 games left.
"I'm sure everyone knows the circumstance, where we are, whatever, but it don't matter if you don't play good baseball," said Cameron, who signed with Milwaukee in the offseason and is being counted on to provide defense and leadership down the stretch after the Brewers collapsed last year.
Suppan (10-8), who left the Cardinals for a $42 million, four-year deal before the 2007 season, entered 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA in six starts since Aug. 1 but couldn't stop the young Padres.
"That's the season, you grind through it. When you learn that, you figure you just keep going until ..." Suppan said, trailing off. "There's so many different ways you can lead."
Nick Hundley and Luis Rodriguez each drove in two runs for San Diego, which snapped a nine-game road losing streak and is tied with Washington and Seattle for the fewest victories in the majors.
"I know it's been piling up," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I don't know what the number was. We haven't been good on the road, especially considering our arrival time and coming against a team that if the season ended right now is in the playoffs. That's a good club."
San Diego got to Milwaukee just before the sun came up Thursday after a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers late Wednesday night, but it was the Brewers who looked jet-lagged after being swept by the New York Mets.
This loss was much more troubling than New York's sweep.
Milwaukee squandered an 8½-game lead last summer and missed the playoffs, and while these Brewers seem more battle tested, after going 20-7 in August they've started September 0-4 -- all at home.
"I don't like it, I don't think anybody likes it, but it is what it is and we start changing it tomorrow -- hopefully," Brewers manager Ned Yost said.
San Diego, mired in last place in the NL West, eliminated Milwaukee from postseason contention in its visit last year before the Brewers won the final two of the season to force the Padres into a one-game playoff with Colorado for the wild card that the Rockies won.
In this four-game series, only San Diego can play spoiler, but the Brewers' problems were self-inflicted Thursday. Milwaukee stranded nine runners after leaving 26 on in the series against the Mets.
"That's something again we talked about it going in cycles -- we didn't do a great job of it against New York and continued it again," said Yost, whose club went hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position. "You're looking to get just that one big hit and it opens up the floodgates a little bit and we just didn't get it tonight."
Venable, who was called up from Triple-A Portland last Friday, went deep in the sixth in his sixth big league game. Suppan was chased minutes later after loading the bases on a single to Hundley, an error and an intentional walk. Rodriguez's sacrifice fly off Guillermo Mota gave San Diego a 5-1 lead.
Milwaukee had its chances, stranding two runners in the first, two in the second, one in the third, three in the fourth after loading the bases with one out and one in the ninth.
Shawn Estes (2-1), making his first start since May after being sidelined with a broken left thumb, allowed one run and seven hits over six innings for San Diego. Trevor Hoffman surrendered a leadoff single to Kendall in the ninth before finishing for his 28th save.
"I look at my team like this: If we don't hit a guy good, it's because he pitched good," Yost said. "Really, because we can hit."
- Brewers SS J.J. Hardy hit his 22nd home run off Mike Adams in the seventh, cutting the lead to 5-2.
- Estes called Padres 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff "Mike Schmidt" for a several nice plays in the field, including robbing Hardy of a run-scoring hit in the second. "He bailed me out a couple of times," Estes said.
- 2B Tadahito Iguchi and RHP Brett Tomko were formally released by the Padres on Thursday after the club notified them of the move earlier this week. Iguchi was hitting .231 with two home runs and 24 RBI, and Tomko had a 1.93 ERA in six games.