Braun's catch dazzles All-Star crowd

Braun's catch dazzles All-Star crowd

ANAHEIM -- Los Angeles-born Ryan Braun is already an All-Star veteran, but he had one of those "is this really happening?" moments on Tuesday morning during a parade that carried players through Disneyland.

"It was a surreal experience," Braun said. "I went there as a kid, and it was pretty amazing to be part of a parade that went through Disneyland. It was unbelievable. [Fans] were lined up 10-deep throughout the course of the whole route of the parade. That was special."

Fellow National League starter Corey Hart rode with his kids and so did Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo, who didn't appear in the game because of a rib-cage injury. Four-year-old Yovani Jr. then spent the afternoon at Disneyland with his mom while dad went to work.

"He's having a lot of fun, so that's good," Gallardo said. "He was a little tired yesterday. There's a lot of stuff going on, so he's got to enjoy it."

Hours later, they enjoyed a win. Brian McCann's three-run double gave the National League a 3-1 win over their American League rivals, who tasted defeat for the first time since 1996. The win secured home-field advantage for the NL entry to the World Series.

Braun and Hart each went 0-for-2, Braun with a strikeout and a double-play grounder and Hart with a pair of whiffs, before they called it a night. Braun is 0-for-7 in his three All-Star Game appearances and two-time All-Star Hart fell to 0-for-5. No Brewers player has ever collected more than one hit in a Midsummer Classic.

At least Braun provided a highlight in the field. His diving catch in the fourth inning robbed Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton of an extra-base hit and drew a big cheer from the sellout crowd at Angel Stadium.

Braun and Hart gave the NL a pair of teammates in the starting outfield for the second consecutive season. Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino of the Phillies started last year. Before that, no teammates had started together in an NL outfield since the Expos' Tim Raines and Andre Dawson in 1983.

Now it's back to work for Braun, Gallardo and Hart. The Brewers begin the second half on Thursday in Atlanta with a 40-49 record, in third place in the NL Central and 9 1/2 games behind the front-running Reds.

"Like the fans, I'm disappointed with where we sit right now," said Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio, a Los Angeles resident who attended the game. "I really didn't expect to be nine games under .500 at this point. But I'm hopeful that we can close the gap. I've always felt that if you're within five games of first place, you're in it. We're encouraged that we're going to close the gap. That said, I'm disappointed with the way we started."

Manager Ken Macha said last week that nobody is more disappointed when the team loses than he is. Four dismal losses to the Giants prompted more speculation about Macha's job security, but the Brewers closed the first half by sweeping a three-game series against the Pirates. It appears Macha is safe.

"You have to ask Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee's GM], but I don't see Doug making a manager change," Attanasio said. "But that's a question for him."

Melvin did speak to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and said unequivocally that he will not be changing managers on Wednesday, the day before the Brewers resume regular-season play.

"I'm not a big believer in interim managers," Melvin told the newspaper. "If things get to the point where you see no fight in the players, that's different."

But the Brewers have been fighting, Braun insisted. That's why he's still excited about the second half.

"Nobody has given up, by any means," Braun said. "Obviously, we haven't performed as well as we would have liked to, but when it's not for a lack of effort or preparation, you really can't get that mad."

On Tuesday, though, Braun was just focused on having fun amid the bustle of All-Star week.

"It's hectic," he said. "It can be overwhelming. I think knowing what I was getting into helped. I had the experience from the last couple of years and learned you can't do everything, go everywhere, see everybody. But at the same time, you want your friends and family to enjoy it. It's definitely busy."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.