MIL@MIA: Lucroy's first-inning triple clears bases

MIAMI -- The triple is one of the most exciting plays in baseball, and the Brewers have had a lot of excitement so far this season.

Even before Wednesday's first-inning, bases-clearing blast by Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee led the Majors with 26 triples and was on pace for 66 triples on the year, which would shatter the franchise record of 57 set in 1983.

Lucroy contributed the first of three triples Wednesday night to bring the team total to 29. The speedy Carlos Gomez added the other two to tie teammate Jean Segura for the Major League lead with eight.

"Gomey and Segura are going to hit triples just because they're fast and they drive the ball in the gap well," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said . "The other guys, sometimes ballparks help, and we're hitting them in good spots."

The Brew Crew produced at least one triple in 11 of its last 12 games. Segura believes the team has taken advantage of the dimensions at Marlins Park this series.

"This park is good for triples because of how big it is," Segura said before Wednesday's game. "But I think we can hit triples anywhere. When you are fast and hit balls in the gaps, it's easier to get them, and I think that is exactly what we can do."

The Brewers have two streaks of five consecutive games with a triple this season. They have an active streak of six games and will have a chance to tie the franchise record of seven games Friday against the Reds.

"A triple is always exciting," Gomez said before Wednesday's game. "When I hit the ball in the gap, I put my head down and go all the way to third. When you do that with no outs and have one of the best bats in the game behind you in Aramis [Ramirez], it's awesome because you're probably going to score."

Gomez is in the midst of a career season. His .327 average and 36 RBIs rank second on the team, while his 11 homers lead the Brew Crew.

"I've been in this league for seven years," Gomez said. "I know what other teams will try to do to me, and I'm taking advantage of it. I have no fear now, and I'm not worried about anything. I just work hard and come ready to play every day in center field."

The 27-year-old has always been regarded as an impressive talent, but Gomez credits his improved play to a reduction in stress.

"Before it was tough because I used to think I would only play against a lefty," Gomez said. "Then I would think, 'Today I have to get two or three hits if I want to play tomorrow.' That puts a lot of pressure on you. Now it doesn't matter if I go 0-for-4 or 4-for-4; I am going to be in the lineup the next day. It takes a little bit of stress off me and helps me be more successful."

Roenicke agrees with Gomez's assessment, saying the talented outfielder has learned and matured significantly since he first broke into the Majors in 2007.

"He's put together quite a season so far," Roenicke said. "I had to move him in the third spot with Braun out and he continues to have good at-bats. He will get down in two strikes and next thing I know he is going the other way. That's what good hitters do. He's been impressive. He's learned a lot. He's smarter and his approach is better."

 

Segura, who homered in Wednesday's 10-1 win over the Marlins, has also been a bright spot for Milwaukee. The 23-year-old is batting .339 with 19 stolen bases, both team highs.

"My preparation in the off-season has helped me a lot," Segura said. "I worked hard to come in physically ready and I have had success so far this year."

Visibly frustrated Braun misses another start

PHI@MIL: Braun exits game with apparent hand injury

MIAMI -- Ryan Braun was not in the starting lineup for the third straight game Wednesday, and the All-Star outfielder was not pleased with how his injured right hand was feeling.

Braun, who has not swung a bat since the third inning Sunday, said the hand felt the same as it did coming into the Marlins series.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke did not rule Braun out of Wednesday's game, saying he would be available if the situation was big enough. But Roenicke would like to avoid using his slugging left fielder with the hope of having him back in the lineup this weekend against the division-rival Reds.

"He's not swinging a bat, so it's hard to say," Roenicke said of Braun's status going forward. "I think the more we keep him off of it, the better. It's going to get better. It's just a matter of if four days is enough."

Braun would like to be back in action Friday when the Brewers open a three-game set in Cincinnati. But the 29-year-old acknowledged that he was not sure if his hand would be improved by then.

"I hope so," Braun said. "I hope that it gets better. I'm optimistic. I'll show up every day and do my rehab and stuff in the training room and hope it gets better."

The five-time All-Star appeared frustrated before Wednesday's game when asked about the status of his ailing hand. Braun hoped the time off would allow for improvement even though it did not yet feel any better.

"The frustration, I don't know if it should be there today," Roenicke said. "I could see if he was playing and frustrated, but at least we're trying to fix it. If we could get rid of this thing where Friday if he comes back and it still hurts, I could see some real frustration because we've done what we could do."

Should Braun not be ready to return to action this weekend, Roenicke said the Brewers would most likely consider placing their star player on the disabled list.

"If things Friday and Saturday don't go well, then we will see about that," Roenicke said.

Badenhop returns to land of first opportunity

MIL@STL: Badenhop gets Beltran to notch save in 10th

MIAMI -- Burke Badenhop is in his sixth big league season, but the veteran reliever has not forgotten where he came from.

Badenhop broke into the Majors in 2008 as a member of the Marlins. The right-hander made 13 appearances, including eight starts, while filling a variety of roles for the Marlins. This week's return to Miami, where Badenhop spent his first four Major League seasons, has caused the 30-year-old to reminisce a bit.

"This is kind of different," Badenhop said. "The team that I played for, it's almost like they died. You pull up a video, and you see the old Marlins colors and uniforms. It feels a little weird. Hopefully this place will be a great home that becomes synonymous with the Marlins."

The return allowed Badenhop to catch up with several of his old friends from his days as a Marlin.

"There are still a lot of guys on the other side that I know that I am close with," Badenhop said. "Some of the bullpen guys are the same. I am good buddies with [Ryan] Webb and [Mike] Dunn and [Steve] Cishek. Reid Cornelius is still there, too. It was good to see all of those guys."

Badenhop, who has been solid for the Brewers in 2013, is appreciative of the opportunity the Marlins gave him as a young player.

"I had maybe 40 innings at Double-A, and then they gave me a chance in the big leagues," Badenhop said. "I am very appreciative for that. At the time, you're so young and living in the moment. I was just trying to find my way back then."

Badenhop has now established himself as a reliable reliever, and the 30-year-old feels he has learned more each season.

"I have a better handle on things now, and I know what to expect, especially as a reliever," Badenhop said. "In the early days, I was switching from starting and relieving and relieving short and really long. Now I am a little bit more established and I know what I need to do to succeed."