Ryan xxx Braun celebrates the last of three HRs Tuesday with Carlos xxx Gomez. (AP Photo/Michael xxx Perez)

Ryan Braun celebrates the last of three HRs Tuesday with Carlos Gomez. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

By Scott Barancik, editor

In an impressive display of strength and agility that spoiled the Phillies’ home opener Tuesday night, Ryan Braun blasted three HRs, collected seven RBIs, and made a diving catch to snuff out a rally and lead the Brewers to a 10-4 win.

The second three-dinger performance of Braun‘s career — he hit a trio against the Padres on 4/30/2012 — marked the end of a personal drought that began more than 10 months ago. The 30-year-old was homerless his final 20 games of 2013, after which he was suspended 65 games for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Several factors made Tuesday’s performance improbable. Numbing nerve damage in his thumb, booing Phillies fans, the absence of drugs, his recent home run drought, and the after-effects of a long layoff made even one HR seem unlikely, not to mention three.

“I didn’t think there was any chance I could have possibly had a day like this,” the 2011 N.L. MVP told MLB.com. “The game works in mysterious ways.” He said the vigorous boos from Philly fans were “very motivating.”

Braun kept at least one Philadelphia run off the board with a diving catch that stranded two runners to end the 2nd inning. The win boosted Milwaukee’s record to 3-4.

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