Axford struggles, Brewers fall to Blue Jays 10-9
He ended it wondering if his job as the Milwaukee Brewers' closer might be in jeopardy.
Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista erased a one-run deficit with back-to-back home runs off Axford in the ninth inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays rallied to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 10-9 on Tuesday night.
After making sure his wife and son were healthy, Axford said he still had a job to do.
"If I was sitting in the hospital watching the game and the same thing happened to somebody else, what happened to me in the ninth, I would have felt even worse than what I do right now," Axford said. "It's my job — for now, anyways."
It was the second back-to-back homer performance of the night for Rasmus and Bautista, who combined with Edwin Encarnacion to homer in three straight at-bats in the sixth.
The blown save marred what was otherwise a memorable day for Axford. Earlier in the day, he posted a photo of his newborn son, Jameson Aedan, on his Twitter account.
With Axford struggling, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said the closer's status wasn't up for review — not yet, anyway.
"Right now, he's the guy," Roenicke said. "We haven't really made a decision there where we would really think about changing that."
The Brewers had taken the lead on Aramis Ramirez's grand slam in the sixth inning, but the bullpen couldn't hold on. Reliever Manny Parra gave up a pair of runs during a sloppy outing in the seventh that included a pair of wild pitches.
Casey Janssen earned his seventh save.
Brewers pitcher Tyler Thornburg looked sharp at times in his major league debut, but gave up four home runs.
He said he did his best to keep his nerves in check.
"I was," Thornburg said. "I tried to keep it semi-calm, though, for my first start, try to make it as emotionless as possible."
Thornburg, a highly regarded prospect called up when starter Shaun Marcum was scratched because of tightness in his right elbow, had been cruising until the sixth.
Thornburg pitched 5 1-3 innings, giving up seven hits and five runs, all on four homers.
With his two-run homer in the third, Brett Lawrie once again did some damage to the Brewers, the team that traded him to Toronto for Marcum before the 2011 season. Lawrie had a home run and a double in the first game of the series.
Darren Oliver earned the win (1-2). Axford took the loss (1-4).
Trailing 2-0 after Lawrie's homer, the Brewers took the lead when Jesse Chavez, who was making his debut as a starter after 144 career relief appearances, got into trouble in the third.
Toronto retook the lead in the sixth, hitting three straight homers for the sixth time in team history and the first time since 2005.
Thornburg left the game to a warm ovation from Brewers fans. With Tim Dillard in relief, Yunel Escobar reached base on an infield hit, Rajai Davis walked and J.P. Arencibia hit an RBI single for a 6-4 lead.
But the Brewers loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth, and Braun walked to force in a run and cut the lead to 6-5 and set up Ramirez's decisive shot.
Toronto got a pair of runs back in the seventh when Bautista went home on a throwing error by Braun and Encarnacion scored on a single by Escobar. Parra threw a pair of wild pitches in the inning.
Notes: Braun extended his hitting streak to 14 games — and a total of 24 games in interleague play. ... Bautista extended his hitting streak to 19 games. ... The Brewers designated infielder Brooks Conrad for assignment.
Last updated: 8:45 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012