Braun hits first homer, Brewers top Diamondbacks
PHOENIX (AP) Ryan Braun hit his first home run of the spring, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 Friday.
Braun, who came into the game batting .071 (1 for 13) and was hitless until Thursday, walked twice against Arizona starter Trevor Cahill before sending a 2-2 pitch from reliever Vidal Nuno down the left-field line.
''I try to see a lot of pitches in the spring, and even take pitches in counts I don't normally take them in,'' Braun said. ''Sometimes, I'm taking a 2-0 pitch just to see the extra pitch. Whenever I'm walking it's a good sign. Plate discipline is something I'm constantly trying to improve.''
Braun said he has had no issues with the thumb problems that have hurt him each of the last two seasons.
''I'm encouraged and excited about the way it's felt, but the further we get into it the better I'll feel about where I'm at,'' he said.
Aramis Ramirez, Khris Davis and Gerardo Parra all had RBIs in the first inning. Cahill, who allowed seven hits in four innings, pitched out of trouble in the second and third before retiring the side in order in the fourth.
Paul Goldschmidt had a pair of opposite-field doubles - to almost the exact same spot deep in the right-field corner - and scored twice for Arizona.
''He's impressive. So hard to defend,'' teammate Mark Trumbo said. ''He can pull the ball, he can go right down the right-field line ... his numbers speak for themselves. It's a treat to hit behind him and see how a true professional goes about his job.''
Trumbo had two singles and an RBI against Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson.
Arizona's Yasmany Tomas made his third error of the spring at third base as part of Milwaukee's three-run first inning.
Diamondbacks: Cahill, still fighting for a spot in the Arizona rotation, had a 2.25 ERA in his first two starts but took a step back Friday. The first six Milwaukee hitters reached base, four on hits.
Cahill has had some success with a higher arm angle this spring but admitted he reverted back to where he was more comfortable when he got in immediate trouble.
''A rough beginning but I was able to bounce back and get some groundballs,'' said Cahill, who left six runners on in the first three innings. ''I think if I had thrown five perfect innings it would have been better, but it gives you that regular season-type feel where you put a little extra behind it.''
Brewers: Nelson allowed five hits, four of them to Goldschmidt and Trumbo. Nelson is working to throw pitches without maximum effort while still getting maximum results.
''When he's a gorilla out there, I don't think the pitches come out the same,'' Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. ''It's going to be a big change, but he's going to see that he's getting some easy outs instead of grinding through every single one.''
Diamondbacks: RHP Addison Reed, who has not pitched this spring because of shoulder soreness, threw live batting practice and stayed on track to pitch in either a minor league or Cactus League game early next week.
Brewers: RHP Jim Henderson has been sent to minor league camp and could stay there or be placed on the disabled list. Henderson, who was Milwaukee's closer coming out of camp in 2014, had a 2.25 ERA in four appearances but has been unable to regain his velocity following shoulder surgery last summer. ... RHP Mike Fiers, who missed a start Thursday with some shoulder weakness, will pitch in either a Cactus League or minor league game this weekend.
The Diamondbacks optioned OF Socrates Brito, INF Brandon Drury and LHP Will Locante to Double-A Mobile.
Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley will start Saturday against the San Diego Padres in Peoria.
Brewers: RHP Kyle Lohse starts Saturday against the Texas Rangers in Surprise.