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Brewers Losing Streak Ends, Axford Loses Closer Role


CHICAGO, IL (WHBL) - The Milwaukee Brewers ended a five-game losing streak by ruining the Chicago Cubs’ home opener Monday, winning 7-4 at Wrigley Field. The Brewers scored all the runs they needed in the first two innings. Martin Maldonado hit a three-run double which highlighted a four-run first inning. Ryan Braun hit an R-B-I double in the second to make it 5-0.  The Brewers got a big assist from Mother Nature on the game’s final play after the wind started blowing in. It kept a long drive by Chicago’s Starlin Castro from causing any damage with the bases loaded. Braun went 3 for 4 with a walk after missing his last three games with neck spasms. Norichika Aoki had three more hits and a pair of walks, giving him nine hits in his last 13 at-bats. Wellington Castillo hit a two-run homer for the Cubs, who were just 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position as they joined the Brewers at 2-5 on the young season. Marco Estrada picked up his first win, giving up two runs on five hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and a walk. Jim Henderson picked up his first save. Cubs’ starter Edwin Jackson took the loss, giving up five runs on eight hits in six frames with six K’s and five walks. The Brewers and Cubs will play each other again tonight at Wrigley Field. Right-hander Wily Peralta faces Cubs’ southpaw Travis Wood.  Coverage on WHBL begins at 6:30.Meanwhile, John Axford has lost his role as the Brewers’ closer, after giving up four homers in his first three appearances. Jim Henderson will be the closer for now. Manager Ron Roenicke says he wants Axford to return to the ninth inning spot after he works on getting his best pitches back. For now, he’ll be a set-up man in the sixth through eighth innings. The same thing happened to Axford a year ago – and he came back strong after a short respite. This year, he’s given up six runs and eight hits in just two-and-two-thirds innings, for a bloated E-R-A of 20.25. Opponents are batting .500 against Axford.