Braun's back tested right away in return to lineup

Brewers LF feels fine, but lets pivotal blooper get by him in Mets' 2-run 4th

Braun's back tested right away in return to lineup

NEW YORK -- Ryan Braun's troublesome back, which had held him out of the Brewers' lineup for six of the previous seven games, was tested early on Sunday.

In the second inning, Mets first baseman Eric Campbell turned on a 91-mph four-seam fastball from Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson and lined it into left field, but Braun was there to flag it down.

Two innings later, however, Yoenis Cespedes took a two-seam fastball and blooped it into shallow left field, and a pivotal sequence in the Brewers' 3-1 loss to the Mets was underway.

Cespedes doubles to left field

Braun hustled in and slid, but he could not get to the ball in time. From there, the ball caromed past him, allowing Cespedes to stretch the hit into a double while also advancing Michael Conforto, who had walked, to third.

"First one I got to, second one I didn't," Braun said. "I think I was kind of caught in between sliding or diving. I actually got a decent jump, but it was kind of in no-man's land. It would have been a lot better if I was able to hold him to a single rather than letting it get by me and letting it end up as a double obviously."

Mets second baseman Neil Walker followed up Cespedes' double by striking out, but then shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was able to line a 3-2 curveball into right to give New York a 3-1 lead.

Braun, who went 1-for-4 with a single and a stolen base, stated after the game that his back felt fine and that the reason he was not able to get to the ball was because of how deep he was playing on Cespedes, who is currently tied for the Major League lead in home runs alongside the Rockies' Nolan Arenado with 14.

Braun's third steal of 2016

"He's one of the best hitters in the game and he has a ton of power, so obviously I'm a little deeper on him than I am on most guys," Braun said. "When you see a ball off the bat from him, the initial inclination is he probably hit it well, but I got a decent jump and wasn't able to get to it."

Couple that with the pitch that Cespedes hit, a 91-mph two-seam fastball well inside, and a regularly routine fly ball became a difficult play to make.

"I looked back at that pitch and I was like, 'Wow, I don't even know how [Cespedes] hit that ball,'" Anderson said. "He got jammed big time, but he's a strong guy and he just blooped it in there. That's part of the game. You make great pitches and sometimes they hit them. You can't do much about it."

Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.