Braun buries demons with home run treble in San Diego

Tue May 1, 2012 3:08am EDT

MLB's 2011 National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers prepares to go on the field during their MLB spring training baseball game against the San Diego Padres in Peoria, Arizona March 31, 2012. REUTERS/Darryl Webb

MLB's 2011 National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers prepares to go on the field during their MLB spring training baseball game against the San Diego Padres in Peoria, Arizona March 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Darryl Webb

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(Reuters) - Controversial MVP Ryan Braun silenced his critics by blasting a career-high three home runs in Milwaukee's 8-3 road victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday.

Braun went 4-for-5, with a triple added to the home runs, to tally six RBIs as he provided a rare glimpse of the stellar form that earned him last season's National League MVP, albeit under a cloud of suspicion.

"It's pretty special man," Braun told reporters after he entered the night batting just .263 with four home runs.

"I've been pretty terrible the first few weeks, really inconsistent with my swing. I'm glad I was able to have a good game and contribute to a victory."

The 28-year-old outfielder was regarded as one of the feel-good stories of 2011 when his breakout campaign helped the underachieving Milwaukee Brewers reach the National League Championship Series.

However, his dream season turned into a nightmare when it was reported in December that Braun had failed a drugs test for banned substances.

Braun appealed against the outcome of the test and the 50-game suspension that came with it, eventually overturning the decision when it was determined the results had been tampered with.

His successful appeal has yet to convince many who still doubt the legality of his exploits but Braun was on top form in San Diego, becoming the first player to blast three homers in one game at Petco Park.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)

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