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Braun's big night has opponents taking notice

MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- With one big night, Ryan Braun is back to being a hitter for whom opposing teams must plan.

"Well, he hit a ball down by his ankles out of the ballpark and he hit one out over the plate," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg, referring to Braun's three home runs on Tuesday night. "You know he's a guy we really have to pay attention to, and he was a cold hitter coming in. So, yesterday he changed that for sure. But we'll have attention about how we're going to pitch him and we'll be a little bit more cautious that he is swinging a good bat."

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PHILADELPHIA -- With one big night, Ryan Braun is back to being a hitter for whom opposing teams must plan.

"Well, he hit a ball down by his ankles out of the ballpark and he hit one out over the plate," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg, referring to Braun's three home runs on Tuesday night. "You know he's a guy we really have to pay attention to, and he was a cold hitter coming in. So, yesterday he changed that for sure. But we'll have attention about how we're going to pitch him and we'll be a little bit more cautious that he is swinging a good bat."

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Braun's homers were his first since last May 22, and he entered Tuesday night's game batting .150.

He changed his fortunes with a three-run home run in the third inning, a solo shot in the fourth and another three-run home run in the eighth.

"I thought it all started with the catch he made in right field with two men on [to end the second inning]," Sandberg said. "For me, that was an early-game momentum changer, and then to come back and us not play good on defense and then put four runs up there, was a big swing right there. But it started with the defensive play for me."

Braun said he surprised himself with his big night, because he has been dealing with a painful nerve issue at the base of his right thumb. Asked whether he was feeling the pain from his three home runs on Wednesday afternoon, Braun shrugged and said, "It's OK. It always feels better after a night like that."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.

Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun