LOS ANGELES -- Ryan Braun answered the boos with his bat, hitting a first-inning home run for the Brewers' only runs in a 2-1 win over the Dodgers on Tuesday. Braun was verbally battered from the start by a Dodger Stadium crowd of 51,137 that came for a big bobblehead night as well as to welcome back star center fielder Matt Kemp, who was back from a two-week stint on the disabled list. Kemp, of course, was the runner-up to Braun in last year's National League Most Valuable Player Award vote. Never mind that Braun grew up in Los Angeles as a Dodgers fan. Considering all that happened in the offseason, he might as well be wearing a Giants uniform.
"I wouldn't say it was something I was not anticipating," Braun said of the boos. "So it really didn't [bother me]. As a competitor, it makes it fun. It's not the way I would choose for it to be, but it makes it enjoyable as a competitor." Braun has enjoyed his time at Dodger Stadium, just down the highway from his Malibu, Calif., home. He has a hit in 11 of his 12 career games here, with three home runs. An 0-for-2 night in Monday's series opener snapped Braun's 10-game Dodger Stadium hitting streak. Part of Braun remains a Dodgers fan. He said he senses an energy at Chavez Ravine that exceeds the height of Manny Ramirez's brief run here, fueled, Braun figures, by excitement about the Dodgers' new ownership. "I think the fans are fired up here about the direction the organization is going," Braun said. Those fans were fired up about something else every time Braun stepped to the plate Tuesday. Brewers closer John Axford was not surprised to hear that Braun somewhat enjoys the rough treatment. "You see smiles from him at times just before he's stepping in [to bat]," Axford said. "He's a professional, though, and he's dealt with it his entire career. He's an MVP, he's [been] one of the best players in the league the last few years. He's always hearing things from people, now it's just a little more prominent." Did Braun ever boo anybody from the Dodger Stadium seats? "I never really booed anybody." he said. "I never really spent my time on negativity. I remember rooting up and rooting for [Eric] Karros, [Mike] Piazza, all the rookies of the year they had consecutively. That was fun."