The five-time Cy Young Award winner hopes to pay his teammates back with a strong performance when the surging Yankees continue a four-game series with the visiting Baltimore Orioles.
Johnson endured a difficult but short night in Toronto on Friday, surrendering a three-run homer to Vernon Wells in the first inning before getting ejected in the second for arguing with home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth.
Johnson threw a pitch on the inside part of the plate that was called a ball. The 6-foot-10 left-hander yelled at Culbreth, who popped out to the first-base side of the plate and took off his mask. Culbreth yelled something at Johnson and pointed at the pitcher. Johnson yelled something back, and the umpire then ejected him.
Culbreth said he warned Johnson in the first inning after the Big Unit questioned a pitch to Wells and got “pretty animated,” the umpire said.
After Johnson stormed off to the locker room, the Yankees rallied to take an 11-3 lead. However, with his starter out, manager Joe Torre was forced to empty his bullpen, including using closer Mariano Rivera for a third straight day, as New York held on for an 11-10 win.
Johnson didn’t talk to reporters after the game, but did publicly apologize to his teammates the day after.
“I’m deeply regretful. I put my ballclub in a bind,” Johnson said Saturday. “I pitch with emotion, but I let it get the best of me.
“I was wrong,” he added. “I was wrong for letting my emotions get away from me.”
The Yankees stayed within a half-game of first-place Boston in the AL East with Tuesday’s 12-9 win.
Gary Sheffield hit a grand slam and drove in six runs, Jorge Posada added a three-run homer and Alex Rodriguez added his 45th of the year for New York, which has won eight of nine to climb a season-high 24 games above .500.
The Yankees are also a half-game behind Cleveland in the wild-card race.
Jay Gibbons hit a two-run homer for Baltimore, which had 18 hits but lost for the 20th time in its last 30 games.
The Orioles also lost second baseman Brian Roberts to a dislocated left elbow.
Roberts was covering first base after New York’s Bubba Crosby bunted with Bernie Williams on second. First baseman B.J. Surhoff rushed in to field the bunt and his throw to Roberts arrived at about the same time Crosby did.
Crosby crashed into Roberts’ outstretched left arm, snapping it back. Roberts dropped the ball and went to the ground in tremendous pain, allowing Williams to jog home from third.
After sending Chris Gomez in to replace Roberts, interim manager Sam Perlozzo was ejected for arguing with plate umpire Sam Holbrook. Perlozzo might have been arguing that Crosby ran inside the baseline.
Roberts went to the hospital for further examination.