SAN FRANCISCO -- John Axford's season of extremes continued Monday when he did something particularly embarrassing: He aired an intentional ball four to the backstop.
Axford was the losing pitcher in the Brewers' 4-2 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park, a game decided in an ugly eighth inning that began with Axford walking Hunter Pence, a former division rival whom he'd held to one hit in 10 previous matchups. Pence stole second with one out, then took third when Axford's ball four to Pablo Sandoval sailed over catcher Jonathan Lucroy for a wild pitch.
Two Brewers relievers and two Giants batters later, Jeff Francoeur delivered the bloop single that gave San Francisco a lead for good.
"Never done that before in my life," Axford said of his very wild pitch. "That ball, before I was even throwing it, was slipping out of my hand. I don't know. I tried to overcompensate in some way, and I just airmailed it."
Monday marked Axford's sixth straight outing in which he either allowed a run of his own or an inherited runner to score. His ERA, which was as high as 24.30 on April 9 and as low as 3.38 on July 24, is back up to 4.47.
"It's tough after all those great outings that I had, then to have this skid again," Axford said. "It's been constant for the last six outings and it's frustrating, it really is. Today, I guess the fact of the matter is I didn't get the job done. I tried to keep the ball down, and it was too down. Then I tried to get it back up, and it was too up. I just couldn't find it.
"At one point, I used to be dependable in the back end of the 'pen. That's where I want to be again. I want to be that guy who's depended on and can do the job, and I intend to be that guy again soon."