Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/28/12
Mlb-brewers-cubs-june

If the Milwaukee Brewers have any hopes of getting their season turned around, closer John Axford is going to have to get his act together.

Axford had another tough night at the office Tuesday when he surrendered an eighth-inning homer to Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs that gave the Reds a 4-3 victory. It was the seventh time in the Brewers' last nine losses that the outcome was decided in the opponent's final at-bat, and Axford has been a key figure in that collapse.

Since June 12, Axford has blown three of six save opportunities while being saddled with three losses. By comparison, Axford blew only two saves during the entire 2011 season, converting 46 of 48 opportunities.

Axford was pitching in the eighth inning instead of the ninth because the Brewers entered that inning trailing 3-0 with Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo working on a no-hitter. Manager Ron Roenicke got Axford up merely to get work should the Reds stay on top, but the Brewers rallied against Arroyo to tie the score 3-3.

So Roenicke stayed with Axford, and his first pitch was knocked out of the park by Stubbs for the decisive run. He retired the next three hitters with no problems, but the damage had been done and Axford's troublesome season continued. He is 1-5 with a 5.22 ERA and 13 saves in 17 chances.

"I'm almost at a loss for words now," said Axford. "It's just kind of exhausting. Even when I feel good and things seem to be clicking, one pitch, one play, one something happens that turns everything else around on me."

The Brewers had Axford warming again Wednesday when they entered the ninth inning in Cincy with a 5-3 lead but sat him down after scoring three times to go up by five.

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