Braun’s 2-Run HR Spoils Kemp’s Return
LOS ANGELES (AP) Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer in the first inning, getting back at Dodgers fans who booed his every move and leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
Mike Fiers (1-0) allowed a run and five hits in seven innings, striking out three and walking none in his first major league start and third appearance after being recalled from Triple-A Nashville. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up his only run when Andre Ethier doubled home Ivan De Jesus in the sixth for his NL-leading 43rd RBI.
Fiers’ catcher was Martin Maldonado, who also was promoted from the Brewers’ top farm club Tuesday after Jonathan Lucroy was placed on the disabled list because of a broken right hand that is expected to sideline him for at least six weeks. It was the first time in Brewers history that both members of their starting battery were making their first start in the majors.
Fernando Rodriguez pitched a perfect eighth, and John Axford got three outs for his ninth save in 10 chances. Matt Kemp ended a nine-pitch at-bat with a leadoff double against Axford and Ethier was hit by the right-hander’s next delivery. Jerry Hairston Jr. grounded into a double play, sending Kemp to third, but he was stranded there when James Loney grounded to short.
Dodgers 21-yearold right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (0-1) made his seventh career start and first this season, allowing two runs and four hits over seven innings with four strikeouts and a walk while filling in for the injured Ted Lilly.
The crowd of 51,137 booed Braun lustily every time he came up – as they did in Monday’s opener of the four-game series. He responded with a first-pitch homer into the right field bullpen after Nyjer Morgan singled with one out in the first inning. It was his 14th of the season, two more than Kemp, who returned to the lineup from the disabled list after missing 13 games with a left hamstring strain.
Braun beat out Kemp for NL MVP last season. The first time Kemp came up Tuesday, he was welcomed with chants of M-V-P! M-V-P!” He struck out and finished 1 for 4.
One fan displayed his contempt for Braun during the Dodgers’ third, throwing a baseball back onto the field after the Brewers’ left fielder picked up a foul ball A.J. Ellis hit down the line and tossed it into the stands. When Ethier flied out to Braun to end the fourth, Braun faked like he was going to throw it to the fans – but kept it and trotted in.
NOTES: All four members of the Dodgers’ record-setting 8 1/2 year infield – Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Bill Russell and Davey Lopes – threw a ceremonial first pitch in unison. … Mickey Hatcher, who was fired as Angels hitting coach on May 15, sat in the owners box next to his former Dodgers manager, Tommy Lasorda, and received a warm greeting from the crowd when he was shown on the video board. … Fiers was the seventh pitcher to start for the Brewers – one more than last season, when they used the fewest in the majors. … All five games between the teams so far have been decided by one-run margins.