His record may not show it, but Randy Johnson is having another dominant season.
Johnson snapped a three-decision losing streak on Friday, allowing just one run and four hits in seven innings of Friday’s 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants. Johnson, who turned 41 that night, struck out eight batters and ended the night with 4,128 strikeouts for his career—just eight shy of left-hander Steve Carlton on the all-time list. Carlton trails only right-handers Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens.
San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds was full of praise for Johnson.
“To me he’s the best left-hander ever,” Bonds said. “He’s worked hard throughout his career. You can’t say enough for him. He’s just awesome, and he keeps getting better. If he had any kind of run support, he’d be fighting for the Cy Young with everybody else.”
Johnson led the majors through Monday’s games in strikeouts (257), ERA and opponent’s batting average (.191), but has gotten two or fewer runs of support in 16 of his 31 starts this season.
“To be honest, mentally he’s tired,” manager Al Pedrique said, “and still he goes out every fifth day and he does what he does best.”
Friday’s win was Johnson’s 100th for Arizona. He had gone 0-3 in his previous four starts despite earning a 2.43 ERA.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching some of the young players, I really have,” Johnson said. “Greg Aquino, Chad Tracy have battled all year long. I would gladly choose those guys to be my side because I see how hard they’re working.”
Colorado knows it has its work cut out against Johnson.
“I don’t think you compare him to other pitchers,” Rockies first baseman Todd Helton said. “He’s in a class of his own for our generation. He’s not compared to guys we play with. He’s compared to Walter Johnson, Steve Carlton. It’s amazing what he has done, and it’s amzaing what he has done lately.”
The Diamondbacks beat the Rockies 4-3 in 12 innings Tuesday, snapping a three-game losing streak. Shea Hillenbrand drove in two runs, including the game-winner, for Arizona, which has won just two of its last 12.
Luis Gonzalez homered for the Rockies, who have lost four of seven.