Even Ryan Braun couldn't remember the last time he participated in early batting practice, yet there he was Thursday afternoon at Miller Park, taking swings with a group of teammates.

"It's been a long time," said Braun. "I think it's the second time ever in my career."

Braun meant since his rookie season, when he took early BP often only because he thought it was expected of him. But, mired in his worst slump in some time, he figured it couldn't hurt to take some extra hacks before the opener of a four-game series against Philadelphia.

"I'm big on my routine. I've always said you don't have control over results, focus on process that whole thing," said Braun, who was batting .143 with no homers since Aug. 1. "So, I don't like to break my routine too often. But every once in a while, if things aren't going too well, it makes sense to come out and take a little extra BP.

"I normally hit off a tee and take soft-toss every day before a game, so that's the equivalent of extra work. So, I don't normally do it. So, we'll see if it will help."

Apparently, it helped a lot. Braun socked home runs in his first two at-bats off Philadelphia left-hander Cliff Lee, breaking out of his slump in a big way.