The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.
Ryan Braun makes history: Neither pitcher nor perimeter could keep Ryan Braun inside the spacious confines of Petco Park on Monday night. The Milwaukee Brewers MVP became the first player in the park's eight-year history to hit three home runs in one game during an 8-3 victory over the San Diego Padres. Braun also hit a two-run triple in the ninth, allowing the 2011 NL MVP to head back to the hotel with six RBIs under his belt.
Braun's monster night comes just as talks about bringing in Petco's fences and making it less of a pitcher's park have regained momentum. While shorter barriers might have allowed Braun's triple to become his fourth home run of the night, they were otherwise not a problem. One of his homers hit the fourth-level balcony on the warehouse in left field.
Braun said he'd still be in favor of bringing in the fences, though:
"There's no doubt this is one of the more challenging if not the most challenging place to hit home runs in the league," Braun told reporters. "I think for fans, you want to see offense. Offense is exciting when teams are scoring runs. It's a lot of fun for the fans to watch. So I think if they did do that, it would make it more of a neutral ballpark. As of right now it certainly favors pitchers pretty substantially.''
You're going to have a few more trivia tidbits after a night like that, so here's a few more. Adrian Gonzalez is the career-leader of two-home run games at Petco with four, the Padres have hit only six homers total through 15 home games this season and the last player to hit three homers and a triple in one game was Fred Lynn, who did it at Tiger Stadium on June 18, 1975. (Only six players overall have hit three homers and a triple in one game.)
Break up the Buccos! Speaking of offensive outbursts, the Pirates landed a 9-3 victory over Atlanta at Turner Field, marking the first time all season that a second hand of fingers was needed to keep track of Pittsburgh's score. No, really. The Pirates hadn't scored more than five runs in any of their first 21 games and were getting close to tying the 1919 Boston Braves, who went an NL-record 23 games without scoring more than five runs. (The 1972 Milwaukee Brewers own the major-league record with 31 straight games.)
Dazed by Darvish: The Toronto Blue Jays were one of the top teams in on the Yu Darvish derby last winter and the Japanese import showed why they should have bid a bit more to beat out the Rangers. Though he admitted to feeling "awkward" over facing a team he might have landed with, Darvish won his third straight start with seven innings of one-run ball as the Rangers took a 4-1 decision. They've yet to lose a game that Darvish has started.
Darvish struck out nine while allowing only four hits and two walks. If you're looking for a physical representation of what he did to the Jays, check out this replay of third baseman Brett Lawrie trying to field a ball off the tricky Rogers Centre playing surface.
I got this!: The Rays' Elliot Johnson came into Monday's game when Evan Longoria exited with "knee soreness." He proved to be a pretty good understudy, too, as his walkoff RBI single in the 12th gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.
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Quote of the Day: "Can you blame them? I was booing too." — Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen on the crowd's reaction after his team dropped a 9-5 decision to Arizona. Miami has lost eight of its last nine games.
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Photo of the Day: For as many calls as we make for instant replay, sometimes the umps get 'em right the first time around. Kirk Nieuwenhuis of the Mets was called out on this pickoff attempt by Houston's Bud Norris, but check out just how close he was to being safe.
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Three Facts for the Water Cooler
· Baltimore's Mark Reynolds is finding it harder and harder to justify his spot in the Orioles lineup. Like Albert Pujols, the all-or-nothing hitter also went homerless in April — the first time he's done that in his career — but already has 30 strikeouts to his name.
· Matt Kemp went yard during a 6-2 loss to Colorado, finishing April with 12 home runs. That's more than both the Padres (11) and Cubs (nine) hit all month and just one fewer than the 13 posted by the Pirates and Nationals.
· The Phillies beat the Cubs 6-4 on Monday night to finish the month with a mediocre record of 11-12. But there's still plenty of time to come back, of course. The 2010 team started the season 12-10 and went on to win 97 games.
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