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Brewers dealt a serious blow by injuries

The Cardinals have pushed their way through a string of early season injuries to a first place start in the National League Central.

Now, just as the Birds are starting to get healthy -- with Adam Wainwright rounding into form after last year's Tommy John surgery, Allen Craig returning from an off-season knee operation and Lance Berkman nearing a return from a leg injury -- the Brewers are falling apart at the seams.

Over the weekend corner infielder Mat Gamel -- the guy who bore most of the responsibility of replacing the departed Prince Fielder -- and starting shortstop Alex Gonzalez went down with what are expected to be season-ending injuries. Starting pitcher Chris Narveson went down for the season with an injury last week.

Gamel .246 was batting with two doubles a triple and a homer with three stolen bases this season. He is believed to have torn multiple ligamenents in his knee. Gonzalez, who has been a vast improvement for Milwaukee defensively -- despite his distracting Abe Lincoln beard -- was batting .259 with four homers and 15 RBIs. He hurt his knee on a hard slide at second base in which his leg dug in at the bag and his body basically pole vaulted over the top of it.

Milwaukee is of to a 12-16 start and is in fourth place, five games back of 17-11 St. Louis.