Parra goes seven scoreless, Braun homers twice as Brewers shut out Jays

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder switched to smaller bats. It resulted in a much bigger pop.

Manny Parra scattered four hits in seven scoreless innings and Braun hit two of Milwaukee's five homers, lifting the Brewers to a 7-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

"I think I was seeing the ball in high definition tonight," said Braun, who reached 20 homers this season. "It's an extremely difficult game, it's hard to explain, but tonight's one of those nights where the ball kind of slowed down for me and for my teammates as well."

Fielder, Russell Branyan and even Craig Counsell homered for Milwaukee, which improved to 2-2 on the current nine-game homestand and won its eighth straight at home against Toronto -- the last was in 1997.

Braun said both he and Fielder switched to smaller bats after Braun felt like his swing was getting too long. Fielder, meanwhile, has been helping Counsell regain his "power" during batting practice. Counsell, a 13-year veteran, has 35 homers in his career.

"Yes, we joke in BP because I've been hitting the wall. I can't hit a ball out in BP. He's been on me to add a little more," said Counsell, who went 177 at-bats between home runs.

Parra (6-2) struck out five and worked around four walks for his fifth straight win. The lefty was at his best when he had to be, getting out of two-on jams in the second, fifth and seventh innings.

"It's just a matter of knowing if I execute my pitches, I'm fine," Parra said.

Parra allowed a pair of singles to Rod Barajas and Lyle Overbay to start the seventh, but retired the next three in order, finishing his night by striking out Alex Rios for the third time.

"I told Manny when he came off, I said, 'Do you understand how huge that was for you to get us through that inning?'" Brewers manager Ned Yost said.

Said Parra: "There's been some games where sixth, seventh inning, fifth inning even, things just don't seem to go my way. I was just happy to battle and get out of a little sticky situation."

Braun, who went 3-for-4 and drove in three, hit his homers in the sixth and eighth innings. The first, a solo shot off reliever Brian Wolfe, marked his 150th RBI in 182 games to become the fastest player to reach 150 since Walt Dropo in 1951 with the Boston Red Sox, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"Whenever you're mentioned in a historical sense in this game, it's pretty amazing, really puts it in perspective how much success I've had in such a short period of time," Braun said. "It's pretty cool."

Braun added a two-run shot for the final margin with two outs in the eighth, and Yost said his young slugger's ability to make changes based on how he's being pitched in his second season has been impressive.

"You have to be able to adjust back or just be incredibly talented, and Braunie is both, he's done both," the manager said.

Toronto, playing in Milwaukee for the first time since July 29, 1997, when the Brewers were in the AL and Fielder and Braun were 13 years old, fell to 4-11 in the last 15. All four of the Blue Jays' hits were singles.

"It's frustrating for everybody that's in our lineup," said Vernon Wells, who acknowledged his teammates were frustrated. "We're a better team than that. That's the bottom line. No one's making excuses for themselves, we just haven't done what we need to."

Fielder started the second with a homer off Toronto starter Dustin McGowan (5-5) for his 12th this season. Counsell added his first homer since July 25, 2007, in the third to make it 2-0 and Branyan's two-run shot to deep right field in the fourth came after Braun doubled to start that inning.

Counsell said he's been telling Fielder to wait until the game starts for him to show his pop.

"I need the pitcher to be throwing a little harder," Counsell said. "That guy was throwing pretty hard. He's got a good fastball. You've got to be ready for it."

But McGowan has struggled on the road. In four innings, McGowan allowed four runs off four hits -- three homers and a double -- and struck out five. He fell to 1-4 with a 6.85 ERA in nine starts away from Rogers Centre.

"We've got to stick together. We'll come out of it. We have to play together," McGowan said. "It's as simple as that."

Game notes
Toronto has scored five runs or fewer in each of its last 10 games. ... Brewers SS J.J. Hardy (left shoulder) missed his fourth game ... Brewers RHP Eric Gagne (right shoulder tendinitis) had another bullpen session on Tuesday. Gagne, who had two wisdom teeth pulled, said briefly that if all went well he would throw another bullpen on Thursday and live batting practice on Saturday.