Wed, Aug 16, 2006 - Page 20 News List

'Big Unit' bags 4,500th career strikeout

STILL GOING STRONGRandy Johnson struck out five LA batters during seven gritty innings to help the Yankees defeat the Angels and earn the praise of manager Joe Torre


American LeagueRandy Johnson reached the 4,500 strikeout milestone during seven strong innings of work that helped the New York Yankees to a 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium on Monday.

Johnson won his 276th game and struck out five to lift his career strikeout total to 4,503, becoming just the third pitcher in major league history to reach the milestone.

Only Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Roger Clemens (4,552) have more strikeouts than Johnson.

The 42-year-old appears to have returned to form in his last two starts, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his previous start against the Chicago White Sox and shutting out the Angels for six innings on Monday.

New York manager Joe Torre told reporters he certainly thought the veteran had a lot left to offer.

"He looks like he's got a little spring in his step," Torre said. "We just want to hold onto it as long as possible."

He gave up a pair of runs in the seventh that allowed the Angels to tie the game, but Alex Rodriguez's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning put the Yankees back in front for good.

Johnson (13-9) then left the game with the Yankees leading 3-2 after allowing two runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and one walk.

New York scored four more runs in the eighth to put the game away, with relievers Kyle Farnsworth and Mariano Rivera each adding a scoreless inning.

Derek Jeter hit a two-run homer in the third inning to give the Yankees an early lead and Jorge Posada added a solo shot as part of the Yankees' four-run burst.

The Yankees had 16 hits, with Jeter winding up with three hits, two runs scored and two RBI. Posada and Melky Cabrera also had three hits for the winners.

Tigers 7, Red Sox 4

Curtis Granderson tripled off Josh Beckett on the first pitch of the game, and the Detroit Tigers went on to stop their season-worst losing streak at five, beating the Boston Red Sox 7-4 on Monday night.

After getting swept at Chicago over the weekend, the Tigers played like the team with the best record in the major leagues. Detroit began the day with a 5.5-game lead over Chicago in the AL Central.

Boston, which had won three straight, fell two games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.

Granderson's hit keyed a three-run first inning against Beckett (13-7). That was plenty for Nate Robertson, who entered the game with the third-lowest support in the AL, with 3.66 runs per game.

He had that and more by the third inning, when Carlos Guillen hit a two-run double to make it 5-0. Robertson (11-8) allowed three runs on five hits over six innings.

White Sox 12, Royals 2

At Chicago, Jim Thome's 36th homer capped an eight-run fourth inning and led the Chicago White Sox to their fifth straight victory.

Following up a sweep of the Detroit Tigers, the defending World Series champions have now won six of seven and 12 of their last 17.

Jon Garland (13-4), who had an eight-game winning streak snapped in his previous outing against the Yankees, allowed seven hits and a run in seven innings. He is now 13-5 in his career against Kansas City, the most victories he has against any opponent.

Thome started the outburst against Mark Redman (7-7) with a single in the fourth and then drove him out with a two-run homer later in the inning. The White Sox sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth.

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