KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers spent eight innings scratching and clawing their way to a two-run lead, then put trusty closer John Axford on the mound to close out the Kansas City Royals.
Just the way they like to draw it up.
What wasn't in their plans were the two walks Axford issued to set up Alcides Escobar's tying two-out triple, or the two walks that the Milwaukee bullpen issued in the 11th inning — the last of the maddening string with the bases loaded, giving the Royals a 4-3 win Wednesday night.
"Somebody needs to step up and start throwing the ball," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Nobody out there is throwing the ball the way the need to be throwing it."
That's not entirely accurate.
Veteran left-hander Randy Wolf went seven innings in his best start of the year, turning over a 2-1 lead to the relief corps. Milwaukee even added a run in the ninth inning to provide a bigger cushion for Axford, who came into the game having saved 10 of his 11 chances.
He walked Eric Hosmer with one out and issued a free pass to Mike Moustakas with two outs before Escobar lined a triple into the gap in left to force extra innings.
"I got the save opportunity tonight, and I blew it," Axford said. "You work to get those opportunities, and you want to make the most of them. Hopefully I'll get another shot."
Billy Butler singled to lead off the 11th inning against Kameron Loe (2-2). Hosmer drew a walk before Jeff Francoeur ripped a single to left field, loading the bases when third base coach Eddie Rodriguez threw up the stop sign on Butler.
Moustakas needed only five pitches from Jose Veras for his free pass.
"You need to take it from the other team," Roenicke said. "That's a bad ballgame to lose right there. I have confidence in these guys, but they need to start doing it."
Tim Collins (3-0) worked around a walk of his own in the 11th to earn the win.
"We've been really focusing on our approach, a relaxed approach, and it showed," said Royals manager Ned Yost, whose team hadn't scored more than two runs in a victory this month.