CHICAGO -- Three hundred sounded like a nice round number to Ryan Braun. Even better, his landmark home run helped give the Brewers a badly needed win.
Braun's 300th career homer was a two-run shot off John Lackey in the first inning of the first regular-season Friday night game in Wrigley Field history, and it stood as the only scoring in a 2-0 win over the Cubs that pulled the Brewers to within four games of first place in the National League Central. It left his bat at 106 mph, according to Statcast™, and sliced through the wind to travel a projected 410 feet for a milestone Braun had been chasing for weeks.
"It's a really cool number, no question about it," Braun said. "Just the longevity and consistency it takes to get there is something I'm proud of, but obviously with where we're at in the season -- we're focused on much bigger and more important things. It's obviously more enjoyable when it comes in a win, comes in a big moment, comes in a night where the ball wasn't traveling very well.
"Definitely a cool way to get it."
It was Braun's second home run in his last 21 games since he belted career homer No. 298 on Aug. 12 against the Reds. Braun ended his power drought on Monday afternoon in Cincinnati with No. 299 before hitting No. 300 on a Friday night not conducive to homers.
For example, as Braun batted with a runner at third base and one out in the first inning, the Cubs played their infielders in. With Lackey and Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson pitching well of late, the Brewers struggling to score runs and the wind blowing in off Lake Michigan while fans wore sweatshirts and jackets in the seats, both teams had a hunch it might be a low-scoring night.
"If it was a regular day, I would have liked to see how far Braun's ball would have gone," said Brewers center fielder Keon Broxton. "During BP, balls weren't going anywhere to center field and left-center. Braun's ball, that was impressive. He had to really get into it to get it over the wall."
Braun became the 145th player in Major League history to reach that plateau, and the fourth this season after Nelson Cruz, Curtis Granderson and Matthew Holliday. Braun beat Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, who also entered Friday at 299 career homers.
The clout extended Braun's own franchise record. Braun, drafted fifth overall by the Brewers in 2005 and a big leaguer since 2007, when he was the NL Rookie of the Year Award winner, surpassed Robin Yount's franchise record with career home run No. 252 on Aug. 19, 2015.
It was the Brewers' 200th home run this season, marking the sixth time the team has hit that many, and the first since they belted 202 homers in 2012.
As he spoke to reporters, the baseball had yet to find its way back to Braun. But it landed in some bushes beyond the center-field wall instead of the bleachers, so Braun was hopeful he'll get it eventually.
"[Brewers equipment manager] Jason Shawger usually does a good job staying on top of that stuff," Braun said. "I'm sure eventually we'll keep some of the stuff from that homer."
"I told him, 'Hey, that's not just another homer. That's a huge homer for us. A big one,'" Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It's a good spot to get it there, and 300's a big number."