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Braun homers in return to Miller Park

By GENARO C. ARMAS
AP Sports Writer
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MILWAUKEE (AP) Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun hit a three-run homer in his first action at Miller Park since his doping suspension, but Milwaukee lost 5-4 to the Kansas City Royals in an exhibition game Friday night.

Braun's homer traveled 409 feet over the wall near straightaway center, giving Milwaukee a two-run lead in the third. The hometown crowd showered Braun with overwhelming applause.

The 2011 NL MVP went 2 for 3 with a double and three RBIs. He's now hitting .412 this spring.

''I feel pretty good, seeing the ball well,'' he said. ''The key for me is always trying to swing at strikes.''

It was Braun's first appearance in a game at Miller since striking out as a pinch hitter on July 21. He was suspended the next day for the remainder of the 2013 season, covering 65 games.

The Royals rallied in a three-run fourth inning that was extended following an error by third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Billy Butler added a solo drive for Kansas City in the fifth.

Salvador Perez doubled and scored twice for Kansas City. The catcher is just fine after getting hit in the head with a pitch in his last game Wednesday against the Padres.

Perez's double came off a blooper down the right-field line for Braun's first chance Friday at his new position. He fielded it cleanly after the ball fell out of reach.

Braun moved from left to right field after Milwaukee traded Norichika Aoki to Kansas City in the offseason for left-handed reliever Will Smith.

''Ryan asked me about playing right field but, no, I didn't have much advice for him,'' Aoki said through an interpreter. ''I told him he's talented and he would be fine.''

THUMB UP

Braun looks as if he's in midseason form at the plate, though manager Ron Roenicke said before the game there could be lingering issues from the right hand injury that also bothered the slugger last season.

''Time to time it will probably flare up, but he should be fine,'' Roenicke said.

Braun has apologized several times in the offseason for the doping suspension, and has vowed to become one of the top hitters in the game again.

STARTING TIME

Royals: Braun had the only two hits off left-handed starter Jason Vargas, Kansas City's big free-agent pitching acquisition in the offseason. Vargas went three innings with two walks and a strikeout in his final spring tuneup.

Vargas had a good spring after entering the night with a 2.14 ERA.

''He lost his command a little bit late, giving up the two walks and then a pitch up to Braun,'' manager Ned Yost said. ''Besides that, I was pleased with his effort, too.''

Brewers: Like Vargas, Matt Garza was a big free-agent grab for his team. He allowed four runs and six hits in 3 2-3 innings with two walks and a strikeout. Two runs were unearned following Ramirez's error.

Garza finished the spring with an 8.80 ERA, though he said he feels ready for first regular-season start Wednesday against Atlanta. The veteran said his timing and mechanics were a little off, but he felt the problem was a quick fix.

TRAINERS ROOM

Royals: Second baseman Omar Infante stayed behind at the team's spring complex in Arizona as he tries to get over an elbow injury. It was unclear whether he would be ready for the team's season opener Monday at Detroit.

Brewers: Jean Segura said his sore right shoulder is feeling better, though it's unclear whether the All-Star shortstop will be ready when Milwaukee's regular season begins Monday against the Braves.

TIN CUP

A bad day on the golf course this spring left Brewers reliever Brandon Kintzler with a new job Friday night.

Kintzler had to serve as a team batboy after losing a bet over a round of golf to teammate Kyle Lohse, who cruised to an 11-stroke victory.

Garza didn't waste a chance to poke fun and put Kintzler to work.

''It was just the ball was scuffed, I had to get rid of it, so didn't want to throw a dirty ball,'' Garza deadpanned. ''That's about it.''

---

Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
Kansas City

B. Butler
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
Milwaukee

R. Braun
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 

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Kansas City Royals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Norichika Aoki, RF4011001 .306
   Justin Maxwell, RF0000100 .351
Alcides Escobar, SS3011001 .346
   a-Jason Donald, PH-SS2000021 .302
Eric Hosmer, 1B4010012 .266
Billy Butler, DH2111100 .339
   b-Ramon Hernandez, PH-DH1000000 .364
Alex Gordon, LF4110022 .311
Salvador Perez, C2210100 .392
   Brett Hayes, C1000000 .192
Mike Moustakas, 3B3111001 .426
   Danny Valencia, 3B1000010 .217
Lorenzo Cain, CF2001000 .362
   Jarrod Dyson, CF0000100 .306
Pedro Ciriaco, 2B4010014 .263
Jason Vargas, P0000000 .000
   Kelvin Herrera, P0000000 .000
   Spencer Patton, P0000000 .000
   Aaron Crow, P0000000 .000
   Tim Collins, P0000000 .000
   Wade Davis, P0000000 .000
   Greg Holland, P0000000 .000
Totals3358547  
a-struck out for Escobar in the 7th
b-flied out for Butler in the 7th
Batting
2B - Salvador Perez (4, Garza)
HR - Billy Butler (1, Thornburg)
SF - Lorenzo Cain (4)
RBI - Norichika Aoki (10), Alcides Escobar (5), Billy Butler (7), Mike Moustakas (18), Lorenzo Cain (8)
2-OUT RBI - Alcides Escobar (5)
SB - Jarrod Dyson (10, 2nd base off Henderson/Maldonado)
CS - Justin Maxwell (2, 2nd base by Henderson/Maldonado)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Alex Gordon (1, Throwing)
Kansas City Royals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jason Vargas (W,2-0) 3233211 3.00
Kelvin Herrera (H,3) 1000010 4.22
Spencer Patton (H,1) 1100100 3.60
Aaron Crow (H,3) 1000010 2.53
Tim Collins (H,3) 1000000 5.19
Wade Davis (H,2) 1211030 3.86
Greg Holland (S,1) 1000020 2.70
HBP - Davis (by Aaron Crow)
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Vargas 3-5, Kelvin Herrera 2-0, Spencer Patton 1-2, Aaron Crow 2-0, Tim Collins 1-2
Batters Faced - Jason Vargas 13, Kelvin Herrera 3, Spencer Patton 5, Aaron Crow 4, Tim Collins 3, Wade Davis 5, Greg Holland 3
Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Carlos Gomez, CF3100101 .300
Rickie Weeks, 2B3110110 .282
Ryan Braun, RF3123002 .412
   a-Logan Schafer, PH-RF1110000 .352
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3000001 .306
   Elian Herrera, 3B1011000 .245
Jonathan Lucroy, C3000000 .207
   Martin Maldonado, C1000011 .167
Khris Davis, LF3000021 .237
Mark Reynolds, 1B4000021 .226
Jeff Bianchi, SS3000000 .327
   Zach Duke, P0000000 .000
   Jim Henderson, P0000000 .000
   b-Scooter Gennett, PH1000010 .232
Matt Garza, P1000010 .000
   Tyler Thornburg, P0000000 .000
   c-Lyle Overbay, PH0000100 .222
   Wei-Chung Wang, P0000000 .000
   d-Irving Falu, PH-SS2000000 .343
Totals3245438  
a-doubled for Braun in the 8th
b-struck out for Henderson in the 9th
c-walked for Thornburg in the 5th
d-flied out for Wang in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ryan Braun (5, Vargas), Logan Schafer (4, Davis)
HR - Ryan Braun (3, Vargas)
RBI - Ryan Braun 3 (9), Elian Herrera (8)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Braun 3 (3)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Bianchi-Weeks-Reynolds
E - Aramis Ramirez (4, Misplayed grounder)
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Matt Garza (L,1-3) 3.2642210 8.80
Tyler Thornburg 1.1211021 5.82
Wei-Chung Wang 2000010 3.86
Zach Duke 1000010 3.38
Jim Henderson 1000220 6.00
WP - Matt Garza (2)
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Garza 6-4, Tyler Thornburg 2-0, Wei-Chung Wang 2-3, Zach Duke 1-1
Batters Faced - Matt Garza 19, Tyler Thornburg 6, Wei-Chung Wang 6, Zach Duke 3, Jim Henderson 4
Game Information
Attendance - 10151
Game Time - 3:09
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Dan Bellino, Second Base - John Tumpane, Third Base - Ben May