The five-time Cy Young Award winner will shoot for his second straight win in pinstripes and help his new teammates end their first losing streak of the season when the Yankees continue a weekend series with the Baltimore Orioles.
Acquired from Arizona this past offseason, Johnson didn’t take long to establish himself as the undisputed ace of New York’s revamped rotation. The intimidating left-hander allowed one run and five hits over six strong innings in his Yankees debut Sunday night as New York cruised to a 9-2 opening day victory over archrival Boston before a capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium.
“I was pretty excited to go out there,” said Johnson, who struck out six, walked two and threw 95 pitches, 60 for strikes.
The 41-year-old southpaw tried to downplay his importance to a team that is eager to re-establish itself as the best in baseball following a historic meltdown against Boston in last year’s AL championship series.
“I came here as one of several acquisitions during the offseason, and being thrown out there on Opening Day, it’s my debut at Yankee Stadium and it’s against the Red Sox,” Johnson said. “All of that. I didn’t see it as any more pressure. I look at all of these things as just as much of a challenge.”
One of New York’s other key acquisitions, right-hander Jaret Wright, didn’t fare as well as Johnson in his pinstripe debut. Wright was reached for six runs and eight hits over four innings Friday as the Yankees dropped the series opener 12-5 on Friday.
Sidney Ponson earned the win for Baltimore, putting a turbulent offseason behind him by yielding three earned runs over 5 2-3 innings. Brian Roberts homered and drove in four runs, finishing a double shy of the cycle.
The Orioles ended a two-game losing streak and an offensive drought. They had been outscored 14-1 in dropping their previous two to Oakland.