Massive game has Braun trending upward
Five-time All-Star has two homers, five RBIs in finale victory over Reds
CINCINNATI - Reds rookie Michael Lorenzen, who made his first career Major League start Wednesday against the Brewers, was a college star at Cal State-Fullerton. His bio listed his favorite book (the Bible), movie ("Step Brothers") and baseball player -- Ryan Braun.
"That makes me feel old, to know I can be anybody's favorite player who's out of college," the Milwaukee outfielder said with a grin.
If Braun keeps hitting like he did on Wednesday, he's liable to be the favorite of a lot more people. Braun belted a single and a solo home run off Lorenzen, then added a grand slam off Jumbo Diaz in the eighth inning to help lift the Brewers to an 8-3 victory at Great American Ball Park.
The five-time All-Star now has three home runs in two games, after he was left out of the starting lineup Sunday and Monday. His season average had dropped to .219 before his seventh-inning homer on Tuesday.
Braun's next game will be the 1,100th of his career.
"I think off-days can be beneficial, but when I'm going good, it's not a necessity," Braun said. "I've been feeling really good. It just hasn't translated to the games."
After three hits in five at-bats Wednesday, his average is up to .254. Braun's first homer was to right-center, his second to left-center.
"We're seeing not only the home runs, but line drives all over the field, like he usually does," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
Braun's first drive came off Lorenzen in the fifth inning, pushing Milwaukee's lead to 3-1.
"I missed [a pitch] to Braun and it was up, and he let the whole stadium know that I missed," Lorenzen said.
The Brewers took a 3-2 lead into the eighth. Braun came to the plate after Diaz hit Logan Schafer in the foot with a pitch, widening the gap to 4-2.
On a 2-2 count, Diaz fired a 97-mph fastball.
"Other than [Reds closer Aroldis] Chapman, Diaz has probably the best stuff in the National League," Braun said. "He made a good pitch. I pulled my hands inside it and backspun it. [Diaz] supplied the power."
The grand slam was Braun's first since 2010 and the fourth of his career. He now has 21 multi-homer games.
"If anybody starts bashing the ball like that, things are going to pick up around here," Roenicke said.