The home run, a solo shot, was Braun's only hit in three at-bats to go with a walk. He's hitting a robust .323/.410/.574 and appears to be in the form that won him an MVP in 2011 and earned him runner-up honors last year.
That said, Tigers skipper Jim Leyland backed the slumping Avila as the team's everyday catcher. They are not yet ready to annoint Brayan Pena into that role.
"I don't want to indicate that Alex isn't our catcher," said Leyland. "He is our catcher."
Avila hasn't hit higher than .227 all season and his average hasn't been above .200 since April 11 except for one day. He's hitting just .155 since April 11 with two homers and eight RBI over 84 at-bats. Avila is hitting .053 against lefties but just .198 against righties.
"I did this with Pudge (Rodriguez) toward the end," said Leyland. "I played him, then sat him out, played him, then sat him out. He didn't particularly like it, but it actually worked pretty good. I'm not saying I'm trying that with Alex, but I have to do something. We'll get through it together, but right now you have to go with your gut. There's no magic formula. I've talked to him, but if one nice conversation could solve all the problems, it would have been solved a while back. But I don't have the answer. The kid is struggling — and as the manager, you feel sorry for him. Trust me."
Crawford's hits were both singles but he still managed two runs scored and two RBI to go with a walk and a stolen base. His batting average is back above .300 to .302 as he continues to thrive atop the Dodgers' lineup.
Hernandez went 2 for 3 with two runs and two walks as well. Hernandez is still hitting just .120/.241/.280 and isn't expected to play much behind regular starter A.J. Ellis.
Van Slyke finished 2 for 4 with two RBI, a run and a walk as well. With Andre Ethier apparently drawing the ire of Don Mattingly and possibly on the trade market, Van Slyke may be in line for more at-bats in both the near future and the long run
Kemp finished 2 for 4 with a walk, run scored, RBI and stolen base. Kemp now has a four-game hitting streak -- something typically commonplace for the two-time All-Star, but he'll take any positive developments given his performance this year. His line sits at a pedestrian .270/.319/.356.
Ryu gave up two runs over 7 1/3 innings with six hits and two walks allowed. He struck out four. His ERA is down to 3.30 and he has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts.
Ankiel doubled twice and has four doubles in nine games since coming over to the Mets. Although he looked like toast with the Astros, he's hitting a robust .323/.364/.710 in the senior circuit.
Murphy scored twice and knocked in two more. The effort pushed his average over .300, as his line sits at a sharp .302/.333/.465.