The hard-throwing left-hander looks to win consecutive starts for the first time this season as the Diamondbacks meet the New York Mets in the decisive game of their series at Bank One Ballpark.
Johnson, a five-time Cy Young Award winner, opened the season 1-2 with an uncharacteristic 6.94 ERA in four starts before having knee surgery and missing 2 1/2 months.
Activated July 20 from the disabled list, Johnson had a stingy 0.90 ERA over his next three starts, but lost two of them.
Despite laboring through one of his worst outings of the season Tuesday, Johnson earned the victory in Arizona’s 8-5 win over Montreal. He allowed five runs and eight hits over 5 2-3 innings, while striking out eight and walking three.
Johnson had allowed just one run over the first five innings before the Expos got to him in the sixth.
“I thought I threw pretty well for the first five innings,” Johnson said. “But things fell apart in the sixth inning for whatever reason and things got out of hand.
“I’ll just take a mulligan and go out and get ready for my next start.”
Arizona has won five of seven, including Saturday’s 2-1 win. Steve Finley broke a 1-1 tie with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth.
Arizona remained three game behind NL wild card co-leaders Philadelphia and Florida.
Mets rookie shortstop Jose Reyes went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games. Reyes is hitting .405 (17-for-42) during the trend and has hit safely in 19 of his last 21 games, lifting his average from .229 to .294.
STANDINGS: Mets - 5th place, 27 1/2 GB, NL East. Diamondbacks - 2nd place, 11 GB, NL West.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Al Leiter (11-5, 4.65 ERA). Leiter is 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA in four starts since returning from the DL. The veteran left-hander, who was sidelined with an inflamed right knee, yielded one run and five hits over six innings in Tuesday’s 10-1 victory over Houston. Leiter is 1-3 with a 5.20 ERA in six career starts against Arizona.
DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Johnson (2-4, 4.59 ERA). Johnson is 4-2 with a 2.74 ERA in seven career starts against the Mets.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mets - Cliff Floyd, .275 avg., 18 HRs and 62 RBIs; Ty Wigginton, 59 runs; Reyes and Wigginton, 9 SBs. Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez, .313 avg., 20 HRs, 75 RBIs and 74 runs; Finley, 8 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Diamondbacks, 3-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mets - C Jason Phillips is hitting .360 (64-of-178) over his last 46 starts. … OF Roger Cedeno is hitting .418 (23-for-55) with seven doubles in his last 15 games to raise his average to .273. … 1B Tony Clark left Saturday’s game with a bruised right shoulder. He is listed as day-to-day. Diamondbacks - OF Gonzalez is hitting .417 with three doubles, one homer and four RBIs in 12 career at-bats against LHP Leiter. … The Diamondbacks have played 43 one-run games—the most in the majors—and have won 23. … 3B Craig Counsell had an MRI on his sore neck Saturday and returned to the lineup, reassured there were no complications from surgery 11 months ago.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mets - 25-33 on the road; Diamondbacks - 34-23 at home.
INJURIES: Mets - 1B Clark (shoulder), day-to-day; C Mike Piazza (groin), 15-day DL; 1B Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (groin), 60-day DL. Diamondbacks - 1B Mark Grace (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Koplove (shoulder), 15-day DL.