Clearing the bases: The Axford falls

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
8:00
AM ET
First base: Now that's a bad week. Closer John Axford was an important cog in Milwaukee's trek to the NLCS a year ago. After blowing two save chances in early April, he converted his final 43 opportunities. It's been a different story in 2012. On Tuesday, he gave up back-to-back homers to Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista as the Blue Jays rallied for a 10-9 victory in a good old-fashioned slugfest. By old-fashioned, we mean 2002. (Sometimes we miss those high-scoring games.) Anyway, Axford blew saves last Wednesday and Thursday in 4-3 losses to the Royals, giving him three blown saves in a seven-day span. He's allowed runs in five of his past eight appearances. Big win for the Blue Jays, who slammed six home runs (two each from Rasmus and Bautista) as Brewers rookie Tyler Thornburg surrendered four bombs in his major league debut.

Second base: Streak over. The Braves ended the Yankees' win streak at 10 games, preventing the Yanks' first 11-game streak since 1985. Three keys plays: After two errors got Tim Hudson into a jam in the fourth inning, he struck out Curtis Granderson with two outs on the bases loaded on a nifty 77-mph changeup; the go-ahead run came in the sixth on Jason Heyward's two-out smash off Mark Teixeira's heel -- a tough play but one the Gold Glove first baseman usually makes; Chipper Jones, who made an ugly error in that fourth inning, atoned when he backhanded Teixeira's grounder in the seventh and threw out Granderson at home plate.

Third base: Umm, about that greatest relief season ever ... Speaking of relievers, Aroldis Chapman gave up a two-run bomb to Asdrubal Cabrera in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Reds lost 3-2 to the Indians. Chapman has now picked up losses in three of his past six appearances and been scored upon in four of those appearances. That's two straight one-run wins for the Indians in the battle of Ohio. Maybe the best sign for the Reds was Mike Leake throwing seven strong innings; he's now gone at least seven in four of his past six starts and is perhaps finally settling into a little run of consistency.

Home plate: Tweet of the day. Rays reliever Joel Peralta was ejected for having a foreign substance on his glove. Apparently, as manager Joe Maddon tweeted, the Nationals violated some sort of baseball code.

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