MILWAUKEE -- John Axford's 47th consecutive regular-season save on Tuesday tied him with Brad Lidge for the fourth-longest streak in the history of the stat. Up next is Jose Valverde's 51, a run that ended this Opening Day. Here's a closer look at Axford's run of success. Twenty-nine of the 47 saves have come at home, no surprise since the Brewers were baseball's best home team in 2011 and managers generally can much more easily get to their closers at home. Axford has allowed three earned runs in 29 innings in those games, for a 0.93 ERA.
All but one of the 47 saves have spanned one full inning. The lone exception came on April 9, when Axford recorded only the final two outs of a 7-5 win over the Cubs. And there are no multi-inning saves, a change from 2010, Axford's first taste of life as a closer, when then-manager Ken Macha often used him for saves of four outs or more. Axford likes to make things interesting. Only 19 of the 47 saves have been 1-2-3, and in only 13 of those has he struck out the side. He's faced four batters, as he did on Tuesday, 14 times, five batters eight times and six batters six times. The strikeout is his friend. Tuesday marked only the 12th time during the 47-save streak that Axford did not strike out at least one batter. He has one strikeout in 15 saves, two strikeouts in 14 saves and three strikeouts in six saves. Twenty of the 47 saves have come when Axford pitched the day before. "I feel fortunate and lucky to get out there for that many opportunities," Axford said. The top three save streaks belong to Eric Gagne (84 from Aug. 28, 2002, to July 3, 2004), Tom Gordon (54 from April 19, 1998, to May 31, 1999) and Valverde (51 from Sept. 4, 2010, to Sept. 28, 2011). "There's only a handful of guys in all of baseball who can really put a game away like that, where the opposing team, they see a guy come in and you see their balloon pop," said Randy Wolf, the winning pitcher for Axford's first save of the streak, on April 24, 2011, and the winner again for No. 47 exactly one year later, on Tuesday. "He's got that funky delivery, throws upper 90s; he's got explosive stuff," Wolf said. "He's a great find. He's huge for us." Said manager Ron Roenicke: "We realize that ninth inning is not as easy for other clubs."