video thumbnail

MIL@FLA: Braun crushes a go-ahead two-run home run

MIAMI -- Ryan Braun was not in the starting lineup Friday night, but the star left fielder came up with the biggest hit of the night.

Pinch-hitting in the ninth, Braun crushed a two-run homer to give the Brewers a 6-5 win over the Marlins before 15,315 at Sun Life Stadium.

"We've lost some tough ones, but to be a great team, those are the kind of games you have to win," Braun said. "It was a big one for us."

Braun, who was resting a sore left shoulder, was available to pinch-hit should the right situation present itself. Even after not taking any swings pregame, the 27-year-old delivered when called.

"I stretched out with my regular stretching routine, but other than that, it was probably the first time in my career that I got into an at-bat without swinging at all," Braun said. "No batting practice, no flips in the cages, no tee, no nothing. I just kind of went up there and simplified the game, saw the ball and hit the ball."

Yuniesky Betancourt opened the ninth with a single to right. Braun followed with his first career pinch-hit homer, a two-run blast off Marlins closer Leo Nunez that improved Milwaukee's road record to 10-19 on the year. The homer was Braun's third career pinch-hit in seven chances.

"It's one of the bigger home runs of my career, considering the fact that we haven't played well on the road," Braun said. "We're trying to win on the road, and hopefully this is the type of game that can propel us to play the way we want to play on the road."

Winning games away from Miller Park has been a challenge for the Brewers, and Friday was no different.

Prince Fielder belted a 3-0 pitch from Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco into the right-field seats to give Brewers starter Randy Wolf a two-run lead in the first.

"Honestly, it was in the back of my mind, but it still takes a perfect swing to go out and do it," Nolasco said of serving up a homer on a 3-0 pitch. "He's that kind of guy. He's that good. He showed everybody he could do it."

But Wolf let the Marlins chip away at the lead almost immediately, as Gaby Sanchez belted a solo homer to lead off the second.

The Brewers added a pair of runs in the third to give Wolf some more support, but the Marlins answered with a three-run fourth.

"We came out early swinging good, and they held us there for a long time," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Sometimes when you see that, you get a little concerned. We need to try to add on there to make sure they can't catch up."

Wolf allowed four runs on five hits over five innings. Despite surrendering a pair of homers, the veteran was able to limit damage for most of his outing.

"They had some good at-bats, and a couple of times I put myself in a corner," Wolf said. "I made some tough pitches and they fouled them off, and I made some bad pitches and they capitalized on them."

Reliever Sergio Mitre was not as fortunate. With two outs in the sixth, pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs drove home John Buck with a two-out single to right to put the Marlins ahead.

Nunez, who had converted 19 of his 20 save opportunities, could not protect the one-run lead in the ninth, as Braun crushed his 13th home run of the season to carry the Brewers to victory.

"Brauny came up with a big pinch-hit home run off a closer who's having a good year," Wolf said. "That's a huge win for us. We know that this Marlins team is a very talented young team that's capable of winning games. To come back and sneak a win here was big for us." Comments