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News » Road worrier Johnson gets pelted by Rockies

Road worrier Johnson gets pelted by Rockies

Road worrier Johnson gets pelted by Rockies
The most noticeable oddity in the box score is the zero strikeouts next to Randy Johnson's name. In 592 major-league starts, that has happened seven times, three when he has pitched at least five innings.

That should be a clue that the rest of Johnson's line Wednesday night was not pretty. In an 11-1 Rockies rout, Johnson allowed seven runs for the second time in six starts as a Giant, both on the road. His ERA away from China Basin actually dipped to 11.37.

Johnson's chances of winning his 300th game against the Mariners on May 22 have been reduced to extraordinarily slim.

For one, he would need to win each of his next three starts. For two, the game is in Seattle, and as much as the Mariners love what the Big Unit did for his original team, they would not be keen on moving the game to San Francisco, where his ERA in three starts is 1.89.

Johnson fell to 2-3 in a rematch of Friday's home win against Ubaldo Jimenez, in which Johnson struck out nine. In this game, he was done in by a short bout of wildness and back-to-back homers in the fifth by Matt Murton and Yorvit Torrealba, which gave Colorado a 3-0 lead. A four-run sixth finished him.

Torrealba often started against Johnson when he was a Giant. The big difference, Torrealba said, is the drop in fastball velocity. However, when asked if that made the Big Unit less intimidating than before, Torrealba said, "Not really. I'm telling you, he's basically the same guy, only he doesn't throw 98 like he used to.

"Now he has other pitches. He has a changeup. He still strikes a lot of people out, even at the age he is."

Of course, the difference between 98 and 91 could be the difference between a popup and a double on a pitch left over the plate.

"I just didn't hit my spots," Johnson said. "The ball was over the middle of the plate. My slider was not as sharp as the last start. That was probably the biggest reason for so much offense on their side."

He insisted the zero strikeouts should not be viewed as any nefarious harbinger, saying, "Is that a sign? By no means. I'll try not to strike anybody out in my next start. Hopefully we'll still win the game."

Manager Bruce Bochy chose not to harp on Johnson's command, but rather chide an offense that scored fewer than three runs for the 12th time in 26 games this season.

"We've got to put runs on the board," Bochy reiterated. "Things might run a bit differently."

Although the Giants were all but finished when the score was 3-0, the four-run sixth sealed it. It featured a bizarre sequence. With runners on second and third and one out, Pablo Sandoval fielded a Garrett Atkins chopper and thought he tagged out Ryan Spilborghs diving back to third base. Sandoval was livid at the safe call.

So the Giants tried a different tack. Bengie Molina picked off Spilborghs. The Giants nearly escaped when Matt Murton grounded softly to third, but they could not complete the double play. Torrealba then delivered an RBI single and Clint Barmes a two-run double.

Todd Helton added a solo homer in the seventh to cap a 14-pitch at-bat against Osiris Matos, and the Rockies padded their stats at the expense of Brandon Medders in a three-run eighth.

The Big Unit's night was long over by then. The good news for Johnson is, his next two starts are at home.

The Big Milestone After last night's loss, Randy Johnson's career record stands at 297-163. His next three projected starts:Monday vs. Nationals, AT&T ParkNext Saturday vs. Mets, AT&T ParkFriday, May 22, at Mariners

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 7, 2009

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