Arizona’s Johnson gets big hit to back 290th win
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Randy Johnson liked the results of his fourth-inning at-bat. How he felt about his technique, well, that’s another matter.
“Watching me hit and run is like watching Manute Bol shoot a 3-pointer; it’s not a pleasant sight,” Johnson said.
A career .125 hitter, Johnson (6-7) laced a double to the left-field wall in the fourth inning to give Arizona a 4-2 lead. The Diamondbacks went on to match a club record for runs in an inning. In 573 career at-bats, Johnson now has 15 extra-base hits—14 of which are doubles.
“You’ve got to be able to help yourself and put the ball in play. It helped and, more importantly, it got us going a little bit,” Johnson said of his double, which came on a 3-2 fastball. “Every once in a while I’m lucky enough to put the ball in play. I take pride in it.”
Johnson’s trip around the bases caused a cramp in his calf that forced him to leave the game after warming up in the seventh inning. The 44-year-old Johnson departed after allowing four runs on five hits while striking out three and walking one.
“His base-running escapades took something out of him,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said, adding that the calf injury isn’t serious. “But I was impressed (with the double). He was grinding through the at-bat and finally got a ball that he could handle.”
Mark Reynolds’ three-run homer to left-center capped the inning that saw eight Diamondbacks score and every batter reach base. Arizona scored all eight runs with two outs.
“Eight runs is a luxury and the only bad thing is you don’t want to have your focus derailed,” Johnson said.
Except for Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino, there wasn’t much that derailed Johnson.
Victorino had three of the Phillies’ five hits, going 3-for-3 with two homers. It was Victorino’s first career multihomer game and all of his hits came off Johnson.
Phillies starter Adam Eaton (3-8) allowed eight runs on seven hits, failing to reach the fourth inning for the second straight start. Eaton has allowed 16 runs on 17 hits in 6 1-3 innings in his last two outings.
“The last two starts I would like to forget and move on,” said Eaton, whose ERA increased to 5.71. “My ERA is brutal; either I’m good or horrendous.”
Eaton said failing to get Johnson out was the turning point of the game, but said he’d take the same approach next time.
“He’s not the strongest hitter by any means,” Easton said. “I like my chances going eight or nine pitches and getting him out.”
Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel added: “The game was the fourth inning. We had two outs and then (Eaton) was scuffling to get out of the inning. Johnson’s hit was a big hit. He didn’t want to walk him and went right after him. He just couldn’t get that last out.”
Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard went 0-for-4, ending his 14-game hitting streak.
Phillies All-Star second baseman Chase Utley, 0-for-9 with four strikeouts against Johnson, was left out of the starting lineup for the second time this season. Eric Bruntlett started for Utley and went 1-for-3 with a double. The Diamondbacks now have scored eight runs in an inning five times, the last coming on April 25, 2002, in the fifth inning against Atlanta. Phillies LF Pat Burrell had his on-base streak snapped at 17 games. Burrell went 0-for-3 with a strikeout against Johnson, giving him 15 strikeouts in 25 career at-bats against the Arizona left-hander.