Diamondbacks 7, Padres 6
PHOENIX (AP)—Randy Johnson finished a trying—but impressive—season as a winner.
Whether he will be back in an Arizona uniform remains to be determined.
Johnson got some rare offensive support, including his own two-run double, and the Diamondbacks rallied from a five-run deficit to beat the San Diego Padres 7-6 on Saturday night.
Johnson (16-14) allowed six runs—only one earned—and 10 hits in eight innings. He struck out eight and walked none.
“It was nice to sum up the end of my performance for this year that way,” Johnson said. “We battled. That’s the biggest thing.”
He threw 123 pitches, 91 for strikes.
“I’m gassed right now,” Johnson said. “There’s somewhere on my body that’s not sore or tired, but I’ll let you know tomorrow.”
It was the first time in 11 starts that Arizona scored more than three runs for Johnson, the major league strikeouts leader with 290.
After undergoing knee surgery last year, Johnson came back to finish with a 2.60 ERA that’s second-best in the majors, a major league-leading 290 strikeouts and a .197 opponents’ batting average, best in the National League. All that for a team that has lost 111 games.
With one game to go, Johnson has 32 percent of Arizona’s victories this season—the highest percentage since Nolan Ryan had 22 of California’s 58 victories (32.4 percent) in 1974.
Fans watching Johnson conclude his sixth season with Arizona were left wondering whether it would be his last. The 41-year-old left-hander has a year — and $16 million—left on his contract, with a no-trade clause, and he might listen if the Diamondbacks try to trade him.
Johnson brushed off a question about the possibility.
“Let me just enjoy today’s game,” he said.
The Padres scored five unearned runs after shortstop Jerry Gil’s two-base throwing error to go up 5-0 in the fourth, but the Diamondbacks rallied to tie it in the bottom half of the inning. Johnson’s two-run double off starter Brian Sweeney brought in the tying run.
“It was his day,” Sweeney said. “He did a good job—and knocked me out of the game.”
“It was nice,” Hillenbrand said. “It’s too bad we couldn’t have done it for him more often.”
With one out in the fourth, Gil fielded a routine grounder and threw wildly past first, with batter Mark Loretta advancing to third.
Rich Aurilia followed with an RBI single, the Padres’ first hit of the game. Phil Nevin singled, then Ojeda grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out. Xavier Nady singled sharply off third baseman Chad Tracy’s glove to bring in the second run.
Arizona’s rally began with Hillenbrand’s one-out double, then Snyder walked. After the runners advanced on a wild pitch, Josh Kroeger and Luis Terrero hit RBI singles. Then, Gil grounded into the gap between second and third. Loretta fielded the ball, but threw wildly past first and another run scored.
That brought up Johnson, who doubled to the fence in right-center to tie it at 5, and Sweeney’s night was over.
“It got a little ugly that inning—on both sides. You get five runs, you’d like to think you can hold it, but we didn’t,” San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s one I know we let get away.”
Johnson and the rest of the Arizona team left the field with two outs in the third inning when the scoreboard showed three outs. Johnson tipped his hat to the crowd after returning to the mound to record the inning’s final out. … Johnson is 14-3 against the Padres. … In the fourth, Johnson had an 0-2 count on Ojeda, Nagy, Payton and Gonzalez but gave up hits to all four.