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Braun's homer gives Brewers NL Central crown

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COLIN FLY,
September 23, 2011
— Ryan Braun hit a three-run, go-ahead homer in the eighth and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Florida Marlins 4-1 on Friday night to win their first division title since 1982.

Prince Fielder also homered for Milwaukee, which clinched the NL Central and reached the postseason at the earliest date in team history after waiting for 20 minutes the Cubs beat the Cardinals 5-1.


With most of sell-out crowd still in its seats, fireworks went off again after the Cardinals lost and fans were showered with confetti and streamers.


With chants of "M-V-P" ringing among the sellout crowd and two on, Braun homered off Clay Hensley (6-7) to end a 1-for-16 skid and then pointed his bat in the air toward owner Mark Attanasio and the fans before rounding the bases.


It was reminiscent of his 2008 homer on the last day of the season that lifted Milwaukee to its first postseason appearance since winning the AL East in 1982. Now, they're back.


"It's eerily similar," said Braun, who delighted the crowd when he held up a wrestling title belt before the Cardinals batted in the bottom of the ninth.


Morgan emerged from the dugout, bouncing up and down in what he called a SWAT team helmet.


"It's been a wonderful ride," he said.


Shortly after the first out, the team congregated in the Brewers clubhouse, passing out champagne and preparing for its second celebration in four seasons.


The stadium remained packed even though this season hasn't been as dramatic. Milwaukee built a 10-game lead midway through August over St. Louis, and even though the Cardinals whittled it down, time ran out.



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