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The Grand Slam: Ryan Braun's ninth inning home run lifts Brewers over Pirates

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The Milwaukee Brewers are leaving the state of Pennsylvania on Sunday and no one will be more disappointed than Ryan Braun.

Milwaukee's slugger muscled up for two home runs in Saturday's 8-7 victory over the Pirates, including the game-winning two-run blast off closer Jason Grilli in the ninth. The homers were Braun's fourth and fifth respectively on the early season. Interestingly enough, his first three homers all came during one game in Philadelphia. So that's five home runs in Pennsylvania and zero home runs in 12 games elsewhere.

Something tells us that will eventually change, probably as soon as this week when they host the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs at Miller Park, but perhaps Braun would be comforted to hear that Milwaukee still has six games left at PNC Park this season.

Braun also added a single and scored four runs overall to round out his stat-stuffing boxscore. Jonathan Lucroy had three hits and two RBI while Mark Reynolds connected for his fourth home run. The offense came in support of Matt Garza, who struggled to get through five innings. The Pirates touched him up for six runs (five earned) on eight hits. Ike Davis, making his Pirates debut, was the biggest thorn in his side with two doubles and a walk.

BUEHRLE W'S: Don't write off Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle just yet. The 35-year-old is off to the best start of any American League pitcher, and only added to his momentum on Saturday by tossing seven scoreless innings in the Jays 5-0 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Buehrle moved to 4-0 and lowered his sparkling ERA to 0.64 after allowing only four hits and three walks while striking out three. In fact, the Indians never got a runner past second base against Buehrle or reliever Esmil Rogers, who closed the game out with two scoreless innings of his own.

Buehrle's run of consistency — 200-plus in 13 straights season — is a true marvel, but after the game the veteran says his formula is simple. 

''The slower you throw the better off you are,'' Buehrle said afterwards.
''I haven't changed anything in 10 or 11 years,'' he said. ''I'm not going to keep asking questions. I'm going to go out there and run with it and see what happens.''

Offensively, Toronto got a boost from Jose Reyes, who returned to the lineup for the first time since opening day after suffering a strained left hamstring. Reyes singled home a run in the second inning. Catcher Dioner Navarro drove in three runs on a pair of singles.

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(Getty Images)

LEAN TIMES FOR YANKEES PITCHING: After a bullpen implosion handed Tampa Bay eight runs in the final two innings on Friday night, the New York Yankees staff somehow had an even more miserable night in their 16-1 loss to the Rays on Saturday. It started with Ivan Nova, who was battered around for eight runs in four innings. But of greater concern is the elbow pain their 27-year-old right-hander reported before heading off with the athletic trainer prior to the fifth. The Yankees are already planning tests and have recalled Triple A starter Bryan Mitchell, so a DL seems imminent.

Obviously, things didn't get any better from there. With a tired bullpen and the score 14-1, manager Joe Girardi reluctantly called on infielder Dean Anna to finish things out in the eighth. Anna didn't exactly have quality stuff, and apparently subscribes to Mark Buehrle's theory of the slower the better. His fastball, which was clocked more like a knuckleball, topped out at 66 mph. His go to pitch, the changeup, literally bottomed out at 55, but Tampa Bay only added two at his expense.

A moral victory for Anna personally, and a night the Yankees will be glad to put behind them.

FLAILING TROUT: Mike Trout hasn't met his match too often since debuting in the big leagues on July 8, 2011. However, reigning American League Cy Young winner Max Scherzer had his number on Saturday, striking him out three times in three plate appearance during Detroit's 5-2 victory.

In doing so, Scherzer joined Tommy Milone of the Oakland A's as the only pitchers to strike Trout out three times in the same game. No small feat. And then Trout's "off" day continued in the ninth inning when Tigers closer Joe Nathan fanned him for the fourth time. In 353 games, it's the first time Trout has earned the "golden sombrero."

Detroit's victory also snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Angels. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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