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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Brewers Bats Begin Season With a Bang, Axford Blows Save With Walk-off Home Run

The Brewers began their season with a bang today as Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez led off with back-to-back home runs. Ryan Braun hit a solo shot in the fifth and went 2-3 with two walks for the day. Despite Yovani Gallardo's quality start (7 H, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 ER) the Brewers couldn't grab the win in the Reds' home opener.

John Axford entered with a 6-3 lead in the ninth and quickly pitched himself into trouble. He loaded the bases with zero outs after Casey McGehee tried to tag out Brandon Phillips between second and third on a Scott Rolen ground ball, causing his throw to first base to be late. Axford struck out Jay Bruce, allowed a sac fly to Jonny Gomes, and then gave up a three-run home run to Ramon Hernandez.

A tough start for Axford and the Brewers which certainly brings back bad memories of 2010 when closing pitcher Trevor Hoffman struggled out of the gate. Still, the Brewers played well today. Positives include quality batting performances by Rickie Weeks (2-5, HR, 2B), Ryan Braun, and Carlos Gomez (1-4, HR, BB) and solid pitching by Gallardo, Kameron Loe (1 H, a solo home run by Joey Votto, 3 K) and Takashi Saito (2 H, 2 K, 0 ER). It's a long season and if this game is any indication we'll see plenty of drama between the Brewers and Reds this year.

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