"The problem -- and it was a great problem -- was that he was missing down," Yost said. "I've got no problem any time he misses down. He just made a slight adjustment and started getting the ball back up again a little bit. It wasn't much of anything."Since allowing a season-high six runs in a no-decision at Washington on May 25, Parra is 4-0 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts. He was stuck with a 1-2 record as late as May 19 but now ranks second on the team to Ben Sheets with six victories. "He's really starting to take steps," Yost said. "It's a sign of having a little success and backing up just a little bit, relaxing, and having the confidence in yourself to be able to [make adjustments]. ... He's gone through the, 'Boy, I need to be great on every pitch I throw.' He's starting to understand the life of a Major League starter, the mind-set and what it takes to pitch every five days at this level and be successful." Parra, 25, outpitched McGowan, 26, who fell to 6-14 in career road starts but was coming off a complete-game win over the Mariners. Anticipating a steady dose of mid- to upper-90's fastballs, Braun and Fielder used smaller bats against the hard-throwing McGowan. Did that mean Counsell used a bigger one? No, but he had been getting the business from Fielder about his warning track power in batting practice. "I can't hit a ball out in BP," Counsell said. "I'll take five swings, hit the wall three times. He's been on me to add a little bit more." Fielder hit a first-pitch, 95-mph fastball for a home run leading off the second inning for a 1-0 Brewers lead, Counsell made it 2-0 when he hit a full-count, 97-mph fastball in the third inning and Branyan extended the advantage to 4-0 with a two-out, two-run home run in the fourth on a 95-mph heater with a 2-and-2 count. Branyan nearly joined Braun in the multi-homer club when he lifted an offering from left-handed reliever Jesse Carlson toward right field in the seventh inning. The baseball stayed foul and landed in the fourth deck. Even with that near-miss, Branyan has hit eight home runs in 56 at-bats since a promotion from Triple-A Nashville. Not bad for a guy who didn't have a job until after the start of Spring Training, and then only got a Minor League deal. "He's given us a big boost," Yost said. "That's an understatement. To be honest with you, when we signed him, I thought he was through. I really did. I just never thought he'd make it back to the big leagues. But he's worked hard and he's been a very, very productive piece of our offense." Braun was pretty good, too. Even if he needed a history lesson. "I don't know or pay attention to the historical stuff, but any time you're mentioned in a historical sense in this game, it's pretty amazing," he said when asked about the comparison to Dropo, the 1950 American League Rookie of the Year. "I'd never heard of him. I had no idea I was approaching his mark."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.