Johnson looks to halt a four-start winless stretch and post a fourth consecutive victory over Kansas City on Saturday when the Diamondbacks and Royals continue their three-game series.
Johnson (4-3, 4.10 ERA) is 0-2 with a 3.60 ERA over his last four starts, receiving just six runs of support from the Diamondbacks (37-31). On Monday, the left-hander dropped a second straight start, walking a season-high five and giving up five runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-3 loss at Pittsburgh.
“Pitching with people on base and not getting ahead in the count and walking the five people that I did—I think four of them ended up scoring,” Johnson told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site. “That’s really the story there. I’m not really sure why that happened. It was just a game that is hopefully out of my system and I’ll get back to pitching the way I have been.”
He is trying to avoid going winless in five straight starts for the first time since July 9-30, 2004. Johnson also hasn’t lost three consecutive starts since he dropped five in a row from June 20-July 10, 1999.
Those marks could be easy to prevent, though, considering the success he has enjoyed against Kansas City (26-42).
Johnson—again trying for his 289th victory—is 15-7 with a 2.92 ERA while starting 27 of his 28 career games versus the Royals, going 12-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 18 appearances since June 14, 1993. He has also won his last three starts against them, posting a 0.90 ERA.
He last faced them Sept. 9, 2006, while with the New York Yankees, limiting the Royals to one hit and two walks in seven scoreless innings of an 8-3 victory.
Johnson does have a tough act to follow after Friday’s series opener.
Arizona’ Doug Davis and Kansas City’s Zack Greinke each tossed seven shutout innings, but the NL West-leading Diamondbacks emerged with a 1-0 victory after Chad Tracy homered in the bottom of the 10th inning.
“Typically a zero-zero game like that, toward the end it takes a home run because everybody’s trying to hit one,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. “Guys tighten up. Everybody wants to be the hero.”
Tracy and Stephen Drew each had two hits for the Diamondbacks, who played their franchise-record third straight extra-inning game and secured their third win in four games overall.
Arizona will try for its first three-game winning streak since reeling off four straight from May 13-16.
Billy Buckner, recalled from Triple-A Tuscon earlier Friday, notched his first NL victory for the Diamondbacks, who acquired him in an offseason trade with Kansas City.
The Royals have lost 14 of their last 16 on the road, and have won just five of their last 25 overall.
Kansas City hopes to avoid adding to the loss column behind Luke Hochevar (3-5, 4.91).
The right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.90 ERA in his last five starts, but hasn’t received a decision in either of his last two appearances. He gave up two runs and four hits over six innings in Kansas City’s 3-2 road win over the New York Yankees on Monday.
Hochevar is making his first interleague start.