Thu, Jul 01, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Randy Johnson fans 4,000th hitter

AP , PHOENIX, ARIZONAAP, NEW YORK

Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson throws his 4,000th career strikeout pitch against Jeff Cirillo of the Padres in Phoenix, Arizona, Tuesday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Randy Johnson reached 4,000 career strikeouts and still couldn't change the Arizona Diamondbacks' luck.

The Big Unit struck out eight to join Nolan Ryan (5,714), Roger Clemens (4,200) and Steve Carlton (4,136) as the only pitchers to fan 4,000 batters, but the Diamondbacks lost their franchise-record 11th straight game, 3-2 to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.

Johnson (9-6) reached the milestone the quickest by striking out Jeff Cirillo for the second out of the eighth. He got there in 3,237 1-3 innings, a strikeout-to-inning ratio of 11.12. None of the others had a double-figure ratio, with Ryan's 9.55 the next-best based on 3,844 2-3 innings.

Khalil Greene homered off Johnson with one out in the eighth, providing the winning margin for the Padres, who won for the seventh time in eight games.

After Terrence Long doubled, Johnson threw three sliders to Cirillo to reach a 2-1 count before blowing a fastball by him to make it 2-2. After missing with a slider to run the count full, Johnson got his eighth strikeout of the game with an 87mph [140kph] slider low on the outside corner as Cirillo took a half-swing.

Long was thrown out by catcher Robby Hammock attempting to steal third on the play to end the inning. Johnson tapped fists with Hammock as they walked back to the Diamondbacks dugout, and the big left-hander waved his cap to the crowd.

Johnson, whose 196 double-digit strikeout games are second only to Ryan's 215, allowed three runs on four hits in eight innings.

Brian Sweeney (1-0) held the Diamondbacks to one run on four hits and a walk in his first major league start after seven relief appearances.

Trevor Hoffman worked the ninth for his 18th save in 20 chances.

The Padres, knowing Johnson would be around the strike zone, started off swinging early in the count, and it paid in the third when Humberto Quintero singled and Greene doubled, both on the second pitch.

Quintero scored on a sacrifice fly by Cirillo, and Greene made it 2-0, scoring from third when shortstop Alex Cintron booted Mark Loretta's grounder.

Danny Bautista got Arizona's first hit in the fourth, and Sweeney walked Luis Gonzalez. But the threat ended when Shea Hillenbrand popped up and right fielder Brian Giles ran down Chad Tracy's drive against the bullpen fence.

The Diamondbacks cut the deficit to 2-1 in the sixth on Bautista's RBI single after Steve Finley's one-out double.

Bautista hit a solo shot off Akinori Otsuka in the eighth.

Dodgers 2, Giants 1

In Los Angeles, Jayson Werth tied the game with a homer and scored the go-ahead run on Paul Lo Duca's eighth-inning single as Los Angeles defeated San Francisco.

Werth, who tied it in the fifth with his fourth home run, started the eighth with a single off Jim Brower (5-5) and eventually scored on Lo Duca's two-out single off Felix Rodriguez to make a winner of Guillermo Mota (4-3).

Eric Gagne got three outs for his 19th save, extending his major league for consecutive saves streak to 82.

Gary Sheffield had a three-run homer, Tony Clark hit a rare drive into the center-field bleachers and Javier Vazquez beat Boston for the first time as the Yankees downed the Red Sox 11-3 Tuesday night.

The Yankees opened a season-high 6 1/2-game lead over the Red Sox in the American League East.

Vazquez (9-5) beat Derek Lowe (6-7) despite two homers from Johnny Damon and the 20th by David Ortiz, who tied teammate Manny Ramirez for the AL lead.

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