Thu Jun 04 08:12pm EDT
The crowd at Nationals Park was sparse and his performance wasn't exactly vintage Big Unit.
Still, Randy Johnson(notes) became the latest pitcher — and some say the last — to join the 300-win club with San Francisco's 5-1 victory over Washington in the first game of a rainy doubleheader on Thursday evening.
Despite building a 22-year career on pitching deep into games and striking out batters, Johnson threw only 78 pitches over six innings.
But in doing so, he also displayed the tools that allowed him the longevity to reach the milestone. Johnson was more than effective, giving up only two hits and two walks while striking out two and being credited with one unearned run before handing the game over to the Giants bullpen with a 2-1 lead.
Though the home fans were in Johnson's corner — jeering the ump on close calls in later innings — the Nationals came close to spoiling the party in the bottom of the eighth.
But Brian Wilson(notes) got Adam Dunn(notes) to strike out looking with the bases loaded on a pitch that was low, but not low enough to keep Johnson waiting five more days to celebrate. The Giants' offense added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth to allow Johnson and his batboy son Tanner, to watch the game's final out without much stress.
Johnson is the 24th pitcher to reach the 300-win mark and only the sixth left-hander. He's the first to join the club on his first try since Tom Seaver joined the club in 1985. Incidentally Johnson, 45, is the second oldest pitcher to get 300 with Phil Niekro being the oldest (46).
We here at the Stew would like to send a big BLS head nod Johnson's way. Embracing Johnson wasn't always easy, but watching him pitch always has been. He didn't need 300 wins to validate his fantastic career, but we're sure glad he lasted this long to reach it.