Ryan Braun is mired in a strange slump.

The Milwaukee Brewers' leftfielder has five hits in his last 32 at-bats, but four of those hits have been home runs - and big ones, too. His latest came Sunday, when his three-run shot off the Chicago Cubs' Scott Feldman was the difference in a 4-2 Brewers victory.

Braun has struck out 15 times in that span, including the first four-strikeout game of his career early last week as well as 3 three-strikeout games (including Sunday). He left Miller Park hitting a respectable .280, but it's not often that Braun goes this long without making consistent contact.

"He's still getting big hits for us, obviously, with the home runs," said manager Ron Roenicke. "But he's not locked in. There's pitches that he usually hits that he's missing, fouling (off)."

Perhaps not coincidentally, Braun's slump began not long after cleanup hitter Aramis Ramirez went on the disabled list with a sprained knee.

The Brewers tried several players in the cleanup spot in Ramirez's absence, but Rickie Weeks (.182) has struggled mightily since taking over the job full time. With no consistent protection behind Braun, opposing pitchers have even less of a reason to give him anything good to hit.

Despite it all, Braun has managed to keep his frustration in check.

"Less frustrated," he said. "Lots of homers, meaningful homers. Not making a lot of contact, but when I do make contact it counts. Homers are always good. We've won seven games in a row, so as long as we're winning, I'm happy."

Braun's emotions did get the best of him in the eighth inning Sunday, when he was rung up by home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi on what appeared to be an outside pitch. Braun flung his bat high in the air in frustration and never even turned around to respond after Cuzzi ejected him heading into the ninth inning.

"Umpires are always trying their hardest," said Braun. "Not everybody's going to be perfect. Obviously, it was a ball. It's just frustrating for me because the challenge is not swinging at that pitch - 3-2 borderline pitch that's a ball.

"It happens."