Braun, Brewers belt Phils
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers were in Cleveland earlier this week when Ryan Braun told manager Craig Counsell he couldn’t wait for the next stop on the road trip.
Braun proved again Friday night why he loves playing in Philadelphia.
He homered twice and drove in five runs, and the Brewers busted out of an offensive funk to beat the Phillies 12-4 and snap a three-game losing streak.
Braun, who came in batting .229, hit a three-run shot off Vince Velasquez (4-7) in the first inning and a two-run blast off Mark Leiter Jr. in a six-run fourth that made it 11-0.
Braun, making only his eighth start in 13 games since returning from a back injury, is hitting .400 with 13 home runs and 39 RBIs in 32 career games at Citizens Bank Park. It’s the highest batting average by any player with a minimum of 120 plate appearances in the ballpark’s history.
“My first five or six years in the league this was one of the marquee teams and one of the toughest places to play. It’s always loud, it’s always packed, it’s always energetic,” Braun said. “And there are certain ballparks where you see the ball better in. For me, this is always been one of them along with Wrigley (Field) and Dodger Stadium.”
Christian Yelich also went deep and Lorenzo Cain added two hits and two RBIs for the Brewers, who had 13 hits after totaling four runs in their previous three games.
Braun, now healthy, believes he’s due for some good fortune.
“Ive actually swung the bat pretty well all year,” he said. “I know my batted ball profile is really good. The results just haven’t been there.”
Jhoulys Chacin (5-1) allowed four runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings for Milwaukee, which held onto a half-game lead over the Chicago Cubs atop the NL Central.
Carlos Santana hit a solo homer and added a sacrifice fly and Jesmuel Valentin drove in his first major league run for the Phillies, who have dropped three straight and nine of 12.
Velasquez retired the first two batters before issuing two walks and throwing a hanging curve to Braun. The right-hander allowed four straight two-out hits in the fourth, including consecutive RBI doubles by Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw.
Manager Gabe Kapler then drew mock cheers when he bounced out of the dugout to lift Velasquez, who was charged with 10 runs on nine hits.
“We thought maybe his mechanics were a little off in the first couple (of innings) and then something clicked,” Kapler said of his 1-2-3 third inning. “But then ultimately, you saw, the wheels fell off.”
Brewers: Eric Thames (left thumb) had a scheduled day off from his minor league rehab assignment. Counsell said Thames, who played first base and left field the previous two days, should return next week.
Phillies: LF Rhys Hoskins (broken jaw) was eyeing a Saturday return after a successful pregame workout. “He looked absolutely normal,” Kapler said. … RF Dylan Cozens exited in the second inning with left quadriceps tightness. … Multiple doctors have determined RHP Jerad Eickhoff won’t need thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. But it’s still uncertain what’s causing numbness in his right hand.
Cain in center field made an acrobatic, sliding catch of Nick Williams’ popup in the eighth that initially bounced off the glove of shortstop Orlando Arcia. A smiling Cain then took off his cap and bowed to his teammates.
A man was treated for a cut on his neck after he tried to catch Aguilar’s splintered bat that flew into the stands in the eighth.
J.P. Crawford acknowledged he was surprised to be playing third base for the second straight day in place of the struggling Maikel Franco.
General manager Matt Klentak said they like rookie Scott Kingery’s progress at shortstop while Crawford was injured and, “We don’t want to disrupt that.”
Counsell said RHP Brandon Woodruff will be recalled and start Sunday.
RHP Jake Arrieta (5-3, 2.66 ERA) on Saturday makes his first start since criticizing the Phillies’ defensive shifts following a loss at San Francisco. LHP Brent Suter (5-4, 4.55) goes for the Brewers.