Stop us if you've heard this before, but the Brewers (45-32) have been on a rampage since being no-hit in Detroit by Justin Verlander on June 12. They are 11-2 since that debacle, scoring a total of 90 runs to average almost seven per game.
"Even before that, in Texas, we started swinging the bats well," noted Graffanino, referring to a three-game series in which the Brewers scored 18 runs yet lost twice.
Should the Brewers win today and sweep the Astros, they will match their high-water mark of 14 games above .500 reached on May 9. They were 24-10 that day after beating Washington, 3-1, a glorious start tarnished by their downward spiral over the next 30 games.
But those tough times are in the rear-view mirror now for the Brewers, who maintained their 7½-game lead over the surging Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
"Guys were searching; guys were pressing," hitting coach Jim Skaalen said. "But they never panicked. It's been the status quo right now. These guys know they can swing the bats."
Add Houston pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Rick White to the list of converts. Thanks to a two-run homer in the top of the sixth by former Brewers leftfielder Carlos Lee off Claudio Vargas, Rodriguez took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the inning.
Rodriguez started his downfall by walking the first two hitters, Bill Hall and Estrada. Rodriguez got ahead in the count, 0-2, to unwalkable Kevin Mench (one walk, intentional, in 160 plate appearances) before Mench reached down and punched a low breaking ball into shallow left for a single that loaded the bases.
Rickie Weeks ripped an RBI single to right so sharply that it skipped past Luke Scott for a two-run error, a play that put a damper on Scott's two-homer performance.
"He hit that ball so hard that it skimmed past the rightfielder," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "That set up a big inning for us."
Astros manager Phil Garner replaced Rodriguez with White, who needed only one pitch to find more trouble. Hitting for reliever Matt Wise, who escaped a two-on, no-out jam in the top of the inning after replacing Vargas, Graffanino hit White's first offering for a two-run homer to left.
After batting .169 in May with one homer and three RBI, Graffanino is on a .388 tear in June with five homers and 11 RBI.
"I'm seeing the ball pretty good right now," said Graffanino, who took countless hours of extra batting practice when he was struggling. "I've made some adjustments that are working for me, spreading out, trusting my hands."
And the Brewers weren't through. With one down, J.J. Hardy walked and Ryan Braun, who slugged a two-run homer in the first inning, smacked his second double. White intentionally walked Prince Fielder to load the bases and get to Hall, who took a called third strike.
White bounced two curveballs in the dirt to Estrada, who waved at both and missed. But, inexplicably, White followed with a fastball down the middle that Estrada parked in the second deck in right for the Brewers' fifth grand slam of the season.
Read more here from Tom Haudricourt's article in today's Journal Sentinel: