MIAMI – Ryan Braun has accomplished a lot in his young career.
But he had never hit a pinch-hit home run. Until Friday night.
Braun was nursing a sore left shoulder before being used as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning with the Brewers down by a run. Braun delivered a two-run homer off Leo Nunez (0-2) to lift Milwaukee to a 6-5 victory over the Florida Marlins.
“Honestly I doubt I have ever hit a pinch-hit home run,” said the three-time All-Star. “I haven’t pinch-hit many times in my life.”
Braun stepped to the plate against Nunez after former Mariner Yuniesky Betancourt singled to open the ninth inning. He did not take any swings in the cage to prepare for the at-bat.
“Probably the first time ever in my career I’ve gotten an at-bat without swinging at all,” Braun said. “No batting practice, no flips in the cages, no tee, no nothing. Just kind of went up there, simplified the game, saw the ball, hit the ball.”
The loss was the fourth in five games for the Marlins.
“It hurts because we had our right guys on the mound and the guys battled back to get the lead and then we relied on those guys to close the game,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “They’ve been doing a great job so far this season. Once in a while you’re going to get these kinds of games.”
It was Nunez’s second blown save of the season in 21 chances.
The home run was Braun’s 13th of the season, but just the first since May 15.
“It’s one of the bigger home runs in my career,” Braun said.
John Axford pitched the ninth for the Brewers, and with two outs Axford walked the bases loaded before striking out Brett Hayes to earn his 14th save in 16 opportunities.