The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

March 31, 2014

Braves lose opener at Milwaukee

— MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Brewers star Ryan Braun drew a standing ovation in his return from a drug suspension, then was ruled out in the first call overturned under baseball's expanded replay system as Milwaukee beat the Atlanta Braves 2-0 on Monday in a season opener.

Braun went 1 for 4 and stole a base in the fourth inning that helped set up a two-run double by Aramis Ramirez.

A smattering of boos during Braun's first at-bat was easily drowned out by the overwhelming applause. The former MVP was suspended for the final 65 games last year in the Biogenesis doping scandal.

"It was special. It was an emotional moment for me," Braun said of the ovation.

Later, Braun had his infield single to lead off the sixth overturned to out after the call was challenged by Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez under Major League Baseball's new replay format.

The review took 58 seconds.

"I had a pretty good idea that I was out," Braun said, drawing laughs. "For all of us, we just hope they get it right, and they did get it right."

Yovani Gallardo (1-0) tossed six shutout innings for the win.

Francisco Rodriguez got the save, the 305th of his career. The veteran righty looked fine about two weeks after accidentally stepping on a cactus during spring training.

Making his first opening day start, Julio Teheran (0-1) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings.

But all eyes in Miller Park were on Braun to start after the 2011 NL MVP played his first game since July 21. He was banned the next day.

It seemed like all was forgiven for most of the 45,000-plus fans in attendance.

With their third- and fourth-place hitters back, the Brewers like their chances with an offense that also features the speedy Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura at the top of the order. If the rest of the starting rotation throws like Gallardo, Milwaukee could challenge St. Louis, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the NL Central.

Injuries hit the Braves pitching rotation in spring training, but Atlanta hoped its potentially potent lineup could overcome the adversity.

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