Frustrated Axford loses again as Rockies fall to Cardinals
By JOE HARRIS Associated Press
AP Photo/Billy Hurst
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- John Axford's frustration was palpable.
Axford blew a two-run lead as the St. Louis Cardinals scored three runs in the ninth to stun the Colorado Rockies 9-8 on Thursday night.
Axford (3-5) took his third loss in his last four outings and has given up runs in his last five appearances.
"It's the worst five-game stretch of my career is what's going on right now," Axford said.
Both Axford and manager Walt Weiss said there is nothing physically wrong and Weiss refused to comment on Axford's role.
"He was almost perfect for most of the season, had a tough week or so," Weiss said. "Physically he's fine. . Just the command, particularly with the fastball. I think he struggled throwing strikes with that pitch."
Axford entered the game after Matt Carpenter doubled off Boone Logan to lead off the ninth. Axford then gave up a two-run single to Jhonny Peralta to tie the game and walked Greg Garcia with the bases loaded to hand the Cardinals their seventh walk-off win of the season.
"I was good down in the pen," Axford said. "Everything was solid. Everything was good. I don't know if I was just a little over-anxious and pulling things a little bit.
"The first couple of curveballs I threw, the first one I threw was there. A couple fastballs were there, the sliders really weren't and after the first curveball for a strike it didn't look like I was throwing any more, either. I don't know. I'll look at video after. Right now, I'm trying to chew over a lot of it."
Carpenter hit a pair of home runs and went 4 for 5 with four RBIs after moving back to the leadoff spot. It was his first career multihomer game and he has a career-high 12 home runs this season.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't comfortable there," Carpenter said. "It's not to say that I can't hit in other positions. Today might have bought myself a couple of more games there."
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez gave up five runs on 10 hits in five innings. Carlos Villanueva (4-3) earned the win.
The Cardinals snapped a two-game skid and improved to a major league-best 38-15 at home.
The Rockies are 3-15 at Busch Stadium since 2010 and haven't won in St. Louis since May 12, 2013.
Nick Hundley's 442-foot home run to left in the sixth tied the game at 6. The Rockies capitalized on a pair of throwing errors by Kevin Siegrist to snap that tie with two runs in the eighth.
Nolan Arenado drove in his major league-leading 78th run in the first.
"We battled really well offensively," Weiss said. "We did in Chicago too the last series. I think we've linked together a lot of good at bats, we did it again tonight."
Rockies starter Chris Rusin erased one of his mistakes to Carpenter by hitting his first major league home run to tie the game in the fourth. Rusin, who gave up six runs in five innings, became the third opposing pitcher to go deep against Cardinals pitching this season.
Rockies: Left fielder Corey Dickerson left the game with a right rib contusion after diving while trying to catch Jason Heyward's triple in the fifth. His status is day-to-day.
Cardinals: Matt Holliday was placed on the 15-day disabled list after suffering a Grade 2 strain of his right quad during Wednesday's game against the Reds. It is the same injury that sidelined Holliday for 31 games earlier this season.
Things got heated after Martinez hit DJ LeMahieu with a pitch to load the bases in the fifth. LeMahieu had words for Martinez while being escorted to first by Yadier Molina.
After being stranded at third when the inning ended, Arenado then exchanged words with Molina.
"It wasn't an accident," LeMahieu said. "I hit the ball back at him the at-bat before and I guess he thought I tried to hit it back at him or something. I'm not sure, but he was starring me all the way down so I don't know."
Martinez, through an interpreter, apologized for his role in the incident which included a hand gesture toward the Rockies dugout.
Rockies: RHP Kyle Kendrick (4-11, 6.33 ERA) is making his 11th start on the road, where he is 2-6 with a 5.52 ERA.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (11-4, 3.27 ERA) is making a career-high 20th start and has gotten the most run support in the National League (6.16 runs a start).