He looks to build on a dominant outing when the Yankees continue their three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles Saturday at Camden Yards.
Johnson (7-4, 5.37 ERA) allowed just two hits in six innings of Monday’s 4-0 win over the Detroit Tigers. The 42-year-old left-hander, who had allowed at least four runs in each of his last six starts, did not allow a hit for 5 2-3 innings.
“One good game doesn’t make a whole year,” he said. “But five or six bad games for me doesn’t make a year, either. It doesn’t mean I’m done.”
Johnson’s victory was the 270th of his career, tying him with Burleigh Grimes for 31st on the all-time list. However, his age seems to have been catching up with him this season.
“When you think of Randy from six or seven years ago, you’re probably expecting 10 or 12 strikeouts as part of this game,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “He doesn’t have the same velocity and he doesn’t have the same slider, but he’s a pitcher now.”
Johnson is 9-7 with a 3.86 ERA in 27 career appearances, including 25 starts, against the Orioles.
The Yankees (32-21) won for the sixth time in seven games on Friday, beating the Orioles 6-5. Derek Jeter returned after missing two games with a hand injury and went 3-for-4 with a go-ahead single in the seventh and a tiebreaking RBI in the ninth.
While Jeter returned, third baseman Alex Rodriguez sat out because of a stomach ailment and might not be available Saturday. Closer Mariano Rivera was unavailable for the second straight day because of a sore back, and catcher Jorge Posada was rested before pinch hitting in the ninth.
Miguel Tejada, Ramon Hernandez and Javy Lopez all had three hits for the Orioles (25-30), who have dropped two straight games and four of their last seven. Baltimore placed right fielder Jay Gibbons on the 15-day disabled list after the game with hip and knee injuries sustained last week.
Rookie left-hander Adam Loewen (0-0, 9.64) will look to help the Orioles bounce back. He gave up four runs and four hits in 4 1-3 innings of relief in Baltimore’s 10-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels last Saturday. He made his major league debut on May 23, allowing one run while recording one out in relief in the Orioles’ 14-4 win at Seattle.
Loewen, the fourth overall pick in the 2002 amateur draft, pitched for Canada in the World Baseball Classic and held the United States scoreless over 3 2-3 innings.
“The likely choice was John, but at the same time Adam is one of our top prospects,” manager Sam Perlozzo said. “He needs to pitch.”