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Heyward robs Braun of HR with leaping grab

Right fielder jumps above Miller Park fence to make third-inning catch
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun may want to consider hitting the ball somewhere other than right field when he's facing the Cubs and Jason Heyward is out there.

In the first inning of the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park on Friday, Heyward made a running catch in the right-center-field gap to rob Braun of a potential extra-base hit.

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MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun may want to consider hitting the ball somewhere other than right field when he's facing the Cubs and Jason Heyward is out there.

In the first inning of the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park on Friday, Heyward made a running catch in the right-center-field gap to rob Braun of a potential extra-base hit.

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Then in the third, with Milwaukee ahead 1-0, the Brewers had a runner at second base after center fielder Albert Almora Jr.s error with no one out, and Braun again lined the ball to right. This one was deeper than the first, and Heyward made a perfectly timed leap at the 8-foot high fence to rob Braun of a home run. The Brewers slugger spiked his helmet in frustration after the catch was made.

A four-time Gold Glove Award winner, Heyward was greeted by his teammates in the dugout with high fives.

"The Heyward play was amazing," Cubs starter Jose Quintana said.

"It kept the game close," Heyward said. "'Q' threw great, we played some pretty good defense and it was a 2-1 ballgame. That's the way it's going to go. Two teams playing well, two pitchers going well."

It wasn't the first time Heyward has stymied Braun either.

"He hits a lot of balls that way with authority, and always has," Heyward said. "I think I remember he was going for his 200th homer, and he hit a ball that way and I made a play at the wall on him. There's some history with him driving the ball that way. You just have to be ready. Braun hits the ball 'oppo.'"

It didn't help that the two balls he did hit well went to a four-time Gold Glove Award-winning outfielder.

"[Heyward] has a defensive reputation for a reason," Braun said. "I think he's probably the best defensive right fielder in baseball. I don't think anybody else catches that ball. High fly balls, guys have an opportunity to get to, but it was a line drive. I hit the ball hard. Clearly it would have been a home run, and he made an incredible catch.

"There's a reason he's won some Gold Gloves out there and continues to be one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. Fortunately, we still won the game. But it was a huge play in that moment."

Heyward just timed it perfectly.

"The way he hit it, it was a line drive so the timing worked out really well," Heyward said. "The ones that are kind of high that you have to get up on the wall, it can be tough to get up on the wall. That one worked out perfect."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Jason Heyward