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Cain 'leans back' on his 1st Crew HR since '10

Outfielder shows off distinctive follow-through amid torrid return to Milwaukee
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Fans at Miller Park got their first look at what Lorenzo Cain's teammates call the "lean back," and if you're wondering what that means, take a moment to watch the video of Cain's first home run in a Brewers uniform in eight years.

Cain connected with a hanging curveball from Miles Mikolas and sent it 414 feet to the left-field bleachers in the third inning of an 8-4 loss to the Cardinals in Milwaukee's home opener on Monday. While the baseball was flying, on its way to giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead, Cain leaned so far back it appeared he might topple over.

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MILWAUKEE -- Fans at Miller Park got their first look at what Lorenzo Cain's teammates call the "lean back," and if you're wondering what that means, take a moment to watch the video of Cain's first home run in a Brewers uniform in eight years.

Cain connected with a hanging curveball from Miles Mikolas and sent it 414 feet to the left-field bleachers in the third inning of an 8-4 loss to the Cardinals in Milwaukee's home opener on Monday. While the baseball was flying, on its way to giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead, Cain leaned so far back it appeared he might topple over.

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Teammates are used to seeing that swing in batting practice.

"Basically, every time he swings the bat, he's been barreling it up," said fellow Brewers newcomer Christian Yelich. "He got one today, and we watched the 'lean back' a little bit. He's been great for us."

"It's always a joke in the clubhouse, 'Come on, lean on him! Lean on him!'" said Eric Thames, who also went deep Monday. "Sure enough, a hanging breaking ball, and Cain has been barreling everything. I'm sure he could go up there with a blindfold on and still find a way to put a barrel on the ball."

As he circled the bases, Cain was 9-for-16 to begin the season, including four extra-base hits. Not a bad start to his five-year, $80 million contract with Milwaukee. He finished the day 1-for-4 and is hitting an even .500 through four games.

Video: Attanasio, Stearns on depth of the Brewers' outfield

Cain had not homered in a Brewers uniform since hitting his first on Sept. 26, 2010. Cain was a 24-year-old rookie then, three months away from being packaged with other top prospects and sent to the Royals for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt. That was the only home run of Cain's first stint in the Majors with Milwaukee.

Besides being the owner of a World Series ring, he is a different player now.

"I feel like I've fine-tuned my approach a lot better," Cain said. "At the same time, I'm still improving as a player. I've still got a long way to go to be consistent in my approach. I'm trying to make solid contact each and every time I step in the box."

Ryan Braun's go-ahead home run in the ninth inning on Friday in San Diego was the Brewers' only home run in their three-game sweep of the Padres, but they doubled that output in their first three innings at hitter-friendly Miller Park. Manny Pina connected for the Brewers' first homer at home in the second inning for a 1-0 Brewers lead.

Thames added a two-run home run in the sixth to pull the Brewers back to within four runs, but that was their final threat.

"A big chunk of our runs will come via the home run," manager Craig Counsell said. "We hit a couple today."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Lorenzo Cain