Braun has first career three-homer game

BY foxsports • April 30, 2012

So much for Ryan Braun's early-season slump.

After starting out this season seemingly slower than any other year of his six-year major-league career — with a .263 batting average and four home runs in 21 games —  Braun put the slump talk to rest immediately with his performance on Monday night in the Brewers' 8-3 win over the Padres.

Braun launched three home runs in his first four at-bats against San Diego, good for the first three-home run game of his career. And considering Petco Park's reputation for being a pitcher's park, the accomplishment was even more impressive, as the Brewers left fielder now owns the first-ever three-homer game in the history of the San Diego ballpark.

Even he was quick to admit his struggles in the first few weeks of the season in light of his fantastic night on the west coast.

"I've been pretty terrible for the first few weeks, was really inconsistent with my swing," Braun said. "So I'm glad I was able to have a good game and contribute to a victory.

"I know how challenging it is to hit three home runs at all, never mind the ball park. And this is certainly a difficult place to do it. Pretty cool."

Braun's first of the night came on a solo shot in the fourth inning to right center, straight into one of the deepest parts of Petco Park. The next, just one inning later, went to the other side of the park, landing on a fourth-floor balcony in left center. Then, two innings later, Braun's third moonshot gave him the best power hitting night in the history of Petco Park and one of the best games of his six-year career.

And in the ninth, with two strikes, Braun almost had a major league record-tying home run, as his shot carried to center field. But the ball dropped short of the warning track, as Braun rounded the bases for a two-RBI triple. When all was said and done with Braun's career night, last year's NL MVP had finished 4-for-5 with three home runs and six RBI — good for 15 total bases, a Brewers' franchise record. The performance also raised his season batting average closer to his usual .300 clip — he's now at .294 for the season.

It was the first three-homer game by a Brewer since Prince Fielder hit three out of the park against the Pirates on September 27 of last year. Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson is the only other major league player to hit three home runs in a game this season. 

Braun's 2012 output had picked up in the Brewers' series against Colorado and Houston, as he batted over .300 in those two series. But after a tough few games in St. Louis, Braun was back in his home state, the place where he made his major league debut. And in San Diego, Ryan Braun appeared to have found his sweet spot again.

"I think we've all been waiting for Braunie to do this type of thing," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I know he has. … We knew he was going to bust out sometime, and hopefully this gets him going to where he can be consistent for a long time."
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