The Associated Press
MILWAUKEE — Ryan Braun was the right guy up at the right time. Just like Robin Yount used to be.
Braun hit a grand slam to tie Yount’s franchise home run mark, lifting the Milwaukee Brewers to a 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday and a sweep of the season series.
‘‘Robin is obviously the greatest player in franchise history. Played here for 20 years, accomplished some amazing things,’’ Braun said. ‘‘Any time you are mentioned alongside his name it’s definitely a special accomplishment.’’
Braun finished with five RBIs. His 251st career homer came with two outs in the fifth when he hit Aaron Harang’s offering off the scoreboard girder in leftcenter field. ‘‘I didn’t hit too many on the barrel this series, so I guess if I’m only going to hit one on the barrel I might as well make it when the bases are loaded,’’ Braun said.
Harang (5-14) had been solid for the Phillies until that point. The right-hander leads the majors in losses, as does Philadelphia, which has dropped five of its last six and is 46-72 overall.
‘‘Not a whole lot to talk about,’’ Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. ‘‘The grand slam was obviously the whole game.’’
Leading 1-0 following Braun’s RBI force out in the first, Milwaukee scored five times in the fifth, capped by the All-Star’s big blast.
Yount spent his entire 20year career with the Brewers, winning two MVP awards. Braun, the NL Rookie of the Year in 2007 and NL MVP in 2011, has said he would like to remain in Milwaukee the rest of his career. He begins a five-year contract extension next season.
‘‘We put a big inning together, and got the right guy up at the right time,’’ Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
While Braun is expected to be a key contributor for years as Milwaukee enters a rebuilding period, Taylor Jungmann (7-4) is still working to cement himself in next season’s rotation.
After a rough outing against the Cubs last week, Jungmann was dominant —- striking out the side in both the first and third innings and working out of a two-on jam in the fourth.
‘‘The breaking ball was real good,’’ Counsell said. ‘‘We talked about the command of the breaking ball and he was able to use it for strikes and he was able to start it in the zone and finish it out of the zone for strikeouts.’’
Jungmann finally flashed a grin after catching a sizzling comebacker from Andres Blanco to start the seventh. It would be his final out, but he left to a standing ovation following a single to Domonic Brown.
‘‘As a starter you know it’s going to take five more days before you get another chance,’’ Jungmann said. ‘‘So having a bounce back outing is a good feeling.’’
Philadelphia dropped all seven games to Milwaukee this year and was swept in a season series of six-plus games for the first time since 2005.
The Phillies had just four hits and two errors until the ninth. Blanco hit a solo homer with one out and Philadelphia loaded the bases against Neal Cotts with two outs.
Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez got Cesar Hernandez to ground out to end it for his 29th save in 29 opportunities.
‘‘We made them a little nervous at the end there,’’ Mackanin said. ‘‘But, I’d rather win the game than make them nervous.’’
Philadelphia was outscored 41-23 over seven games against the Brewers this year.
TRAINING ROOM Phillies: Veteran 2B Chase Utley (right ankle) had a scheduled day off. Utley, the subject of continued trade rumors, is 13 of 26 with five doubles, a homer and five RBIs during his seven-game hitting streak since he returned from the disabled list.
Brewers: C Jonathan Lucroy has been frustrated with his play of late. He’s healthy now, but injuries set him back earlier this season. He hurt his right hamstring in spring training and missed another 38 games this season with a broken left big toe. Against the Phillies on Sunday, he tripled and scored twice, but is just 4 for 28 in his last nine games. UP NEXT Phillies: Philadelphia gets a day off today before beginning a two-game interleague set at home against Toronto. 3B Maikel Franco (left wrist) is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday.
Brewers: Milwaukee continues its six-game homestand today against the Miami Marlins. Brewers RHP Matt Garza (6-12, 4.82 ERA) squares off against LHP Justin Nicolino (1-1, 4.86).
SEATTLE (WITI) — It’s the matchup we’ve been waiting for all week! The Green Bay Packers are taking on the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field Sunday afternoon, January 18th. If the Packers win — they’re headed for the Super Bowl!
The Green Bay Packers are 12-4 on the season. The Seahawks — also 12-4.
The winner Sunday will be crowned NFC champions — and will head to the Super Bowl. If the Packers win, they’ll face the winner of the Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots game set for Sunday evening.
The Seahawks won the coin toss and deferred — so the Packers had the ball to start the game.
In the first quarter, QB Aaron Rodgers attempted a touchdown pass to WR Davante Adams — and it was picked off by Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.
Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with an interception of a Russell Wilson pass to Seahawks WR Jermaine Kearse, which was deflected — and then a taunting penalty called on Packers DE Mike Daniels sent the Packers back to the Seahawks’ 19-yard-line.
The Packers called a time out with 10:28 left to go in the first quarter.
QB Aaron Rodgers tossed the ball to DE Richard Rodgers — and Eddie Lacy tried to get the ball into the end-zone.
Packers FB John Kuhn was able to get the ball into the end-zone for a Packers TOUCHDOWN!
That touchdown went under review, and it was ruled that Kuhn was just short.
At third and goal, inside the one-yard-line, Eddie Lacy tried getting the ball into the end-zone but was unsuccessful.
Packers kicker Mason Crosby then kicked a 19-yard field goal to put the first points up on the board.
The Packers lead 3-0 with 8:07 left in the first quarter!
Seahawks’ WR Doug Baldwin fumbled the kickoff return. It was knocked out by LB Brad Jones, and recovered by Packers safety Morgan Burnett. The Packers on the Seattle 23-yard-line.
Aaron Rodgers’ pass to Packers WR Jordy Nelson in the end-zone was incomplete.
A Rodgers pass to Randall Cobb made it fourth-and-goal — and kicker Mason Crosby took to the field to kick a field goal.
A Mason Crosby 19-yard field goal made it Packers 6, Seahawks 0 with 5:07 left in the first quarter.
Packers Julius Peppers with a sack of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson on second down. Peppers is celebrating his 35th birthday Sunday.
The Seahawks punted, and Packers safety Micah Hyde dropped the ball, but was able to recover.
The Packers started the drive on their own 44-yard-line.
Aaron Rodgers completed a pass to WR Jordy Nelson — and Nelson dropped a second pass for second and 10.
Packers Eddie Lacy carried the ball and ended up just short of the first down.
Green Bay called their second time out of the half ahead of third and one at the Seattle 32-yard-line.
Packers John Kuhn carried the ball for a Packers first down.
Aaron Rodgers threw the ball to TE Richard Rodgers and Eddie Lacy carried the ball — down inside the 15-yard-line.
Aaron Rodgers threw a 13-yard pass to Randall Cobb in the end-zone for a PACKERS TOUCHDOWN! FOX Sports broadcasters Troy Aikman and Joe Buck reported during the game’s broadcast Cobb spent three hours in the hospital Saturday night — thinking he may have to have his appendix removed.
The Packers lead the game 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
As the second quarter began, the Seahawks failed to convert and punted the ball. The punt was returned by Micah Hyde at the Seattle 33-yard-line.
Aaron Rodgers launched the ball down the field in a pass intended for Randall Cobb. That pass was incomplete.
A “hands to the face” penalty against Seahawks DE Cliff Avril on Brian Bulaga led to an automatic first down for the Green Bay Packers on third and 13.
Packers Eddie Lacy came up short on a third-and-three run.
Packers kicker Mason Crosby took to the field to attempt his third field goal of the game — a 40-yard field goal.
Crosby is three-for-three on the day — and the Packers lead 16-0 with 9:37 left in the second quarter.
Packers Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with an INTERCEPTION of a Russell Wilson pass down the field intended for Jermaine Kearse — but there was a flag on the play.
A “blindside block” penalty was called on Clay Matthews for his hit to Russell Wilson — and the Packers moved back to their own 44-yard-line.
An Aaron Rodgers pass intended for Jordy Nelson was intercepted by Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell.
Later, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson completed a pass to Ricardo Lockette for a first down.
At the two-minute warning for the first half, the Seahawks had third-and-eight from the Green Bay 18-yard-line.
Russell Wilson tossed a pass into the end-zone, intended for Jermaine Kearse and it was INTERCEPTED by Packers cornerback Sam Shields! It was Shields’ fifth career playoff interception — the most in Packers post-season history.
The Seahawks called their first timeout of the game with 48 seconds left in the half. The Packers had third-and-10 on their own 32.
Aaron Rodgers tossed the ball towards Randall Cobb — but it was incomplete.
The Packers punted the ball, and Seattle recovered with a fair catch.
The Packers led the Seattle Seahawks 16-0 at the half!
Seattle had the ball to start the second half.
The Packers defense stopped Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch on third down for a three-and-out to start the second half.
The Packers took over, with Rodgers passing the ball to Eddie Lacy twice — for third-and-long.
According to an article at USA Today, former Brewers’ left fielder, Ryan Braun, is preparing to make an apology for using performance-enhancing drugs during the 2011 season. Although Braun has not personally made this announcement, anonymous sources who are familiar with his plans told USA Today that he has begun sending apologies to MLB officials. Apparently Braun is ready to publicly offer the reasons why he used performance-enhancing drugs, and apologize for lying…
Quite frankly I think its a joke! Perhaps Braun should reconsider any plans for a public apology. I don’t want to hear him say that he’s sorry, because in my opinion he’s only sorry that he was caught.
Braun made a decision to use performance-enhancing drugs-PERIOID! After being caught in late-2011 and winning an appeal of a 50-game suspension, Braun continued to keep his secret to himself and misrepresent his loyalty to the public. We all knew that what he did was wrong. He merely escaped accountability by a technical loophole.
If Ryan Braun really wants to apologize for his actions he needs to accept his punishment, change his behavior, and OWN the consequences for his actions.
How do you feel about Braun’s upcoming apology? Leave your opinion in the comments below.
It was a beautiful opening Day at Miller Park as the Milwaukee Brewers began their journey down a long road in defense of their Central Division Title with the first obstacle in the road being the rivaled St. Louis Cardinals. Unfortunately, when all was said and done at the end of the first game of the three-game series, the score was: Cardinals 11, Brewers 3.
What can you say? Some times it’s just not your day for a win. All teams face the same experience. You hate to see the Brewers fall so short on Opening Day, but the game opened with some very memorable notes.
Series’ Memorable Moments
Although Ryan Braun went 0-for-5 on this opening day 2012, the lasting image for both fans and players alike will certainly be the roaring 20 second ovation that Ryan Braun received from the sellout crowd at Miller Park in his first home game after the controversy over his positive drug-test.
Braun offered the sellout crowd a slight tip of his batting helmet and quickly stepped into the batter’s box to cut short the ovation as he came to the plate in the bottom of the first inning. “It’s always a little bit uncomfortable because you don’t want to take away from the game. You never want to be disrespectful to an opponent,” he said. “It’s not really something that you can be prepared for or know what to do. I just kind of wanted to get the at-bat underway,” said Braun. “I truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. It meant a lot to me.”
In the third game of the series at Miller Park Sunday, Norichika Aoki registered his first hit in the major leagues, singling in a pinch-hit. Aoki, who appeared in his second at-bat after striking out in his major league debut Friday, reached for a line drive to left field and came around to score on Alex Gonzalez’s double.
The Brewers finished their 2012 outfield and filled their 40-man roster back in January by importing three-time Japanese batting champion Aoki on a two-year contract with a club option for 2014.
After the word was leaked that Ryan Braun had tested positive for a substance banned in the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s drug policy, a 50-game suspension seemed all but imminent. However, Braun appealed the positive test and attended a hearing before a three-man arbitration panel in New York on January 19th and 20th. Attorney David Cornwell presented Braun’s case against the test result and suspension.
Today it was announced by the MLB and the players’ union that Ryan Braun has indeed won his appeal, thereby averting the 50-game suspension. The decision came just one day before Braun is expected to arrive at the Brewers’ spring training camp in Arizona.
Someone familiar with the decision said the appeal went Braun’s way not so much on contesting the result of the test, but the actual testing process itself. One Arbitrator, Shyam Das, decided to rule in favor of a technicality, making it a 2-1 decision in favor of Ryan Braun.
MLB Officials Upset at Appeal Results
MLB officials are not pleased with how this process played out and announced that they will be making a statement in support of the drug testing process – stating that they “vehemently disagree” with the arbitrator’s decision.
The Vice President of the MLB labor relations, Rob Manfred, said in a statement:
“Major League Baseball considers the obligations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program essential to the integrity of our game, our Clubs and all of the players who take the field. It has always been Major League Baseball’s position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline. We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less.
“As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute. While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”
Braun is believed to be the first player to successfully appeal a drug suspension under Major League Baseball’s policy.
Braun is expected to address the ruling when he reports Friday.