Braun fuels win in home finale
Ryan Braun hit two of Milwaukee’s four home runs and Chris Capuano pitched six sharp innings Sunday before leaving with an injury as the Brewers beat the Florida Marlins, 7-1.
It was the final home game of the season, and it may have been the last at Miller Park for manager Ken Macha and Brewers players Capuano, Prince Fielder, Trevor Hoffman and Craig Counsell.
Fielder hit his 32nd home run, Counsell had an RBI single and Hoffman, the all-time saves leader, pitched a scoreless ninth.
Braun had a curtain call after his second home run in the third inning. Capuano left to a standing ovation after coming out to start the seventh. Fielder received a loud send-off when he was removed for a pinch-runner after walking in the eighth.
The contracts of Hoffman, Capuano, Counsell expire after the season ends in seven road games for Milwaukee.
“The ovation they gave to Prince was obviously special,” Braun said. “We all understand the ramifications and the possibilities.”
After Fielder’s curtain call, Braun said that Macha jokingly asked if he could get one, too.
Fielder will be a free agent after 2011 and has refused attempts to extend his contract. He may be used in trade talks to land a starting pitcher. He said that the decision whether he comes back or not is out of his hands.
“If I’m not here next year, like I’ve always said, it’s not my call anyway,” he said. “I’m here just because of the rules, so I have no choice.”
Braun attributed some of his success to batting in front of Fielder.
“I know that personally I wouldn’t haven been able to accomplish a lot of things that I’ve done without him behind me,” Braun said. “And for us, as a team, I think he’s been one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise in the short time that he’s been here.”
Braun homered off Adalberto Mendez (1-2) after Rickie Weeks walked in the first. After Corey Hart walked in the third, Braun hit his 25th home run and became the third Brewers player in franchise history with 100 RBIs in three straight seasons.
After Braun answered the crowd’s curtain call with a wave of his helmet from the dugout steps, Fielder followed with his 32nd home run. That ended the day for Mendez, a 28-year-old rookie who made his fourth start.
Capuano (4-4) limited the Marlins to one run and four hits. He came out to start the seventh, but left the mound after a couple of warmup tosses because of a strained left groin.
Capuano gave up a sacrifice fly to Gaby Sanchez in the first, but little else. He walked one and struck out one.
The lefty missed all of 2008 and 2009 after undergoing surgery on his elbow for the second time in his career. He replaced an ineffective Manny Parra in the rotation at the end of August.
Fielder received a standing ovation when he came to bat in the eighth. He received even more cheers when Alcides Escobar pinch-ran for him.
Fielder came out to acknowledge the fans with a tip of his helmet.
Lorenzo Cain returned to the dugout after hitting his first major league home run in the second, but got the silent treatment from his teammates for a few moments before they jumped off the bench and congratulated him. It’s the second stint for the rookie center fielder after being recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Aug. 6.
Hoffman pitched the ninth, which gave the crowd another chance to salute the all-time saves leader who notched his 600th save on Aug. 7 against St. Louis. His two-year contract expires after this season.
n It was the eighth time this season the Brewers have hit back-to-back homers.
n It was Braun’s 11th career multihomer game.
n Richie Sexson (2001-03) and Fielder ((2007-09) are the other two Brewers in club history with three consecutive seasons with 100 RBIs.