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Johnson comes up big in win over Colorado


Johnson comes up big in win over Colorado
Even 45-year-old pitchers on the cusp of 300 wins and bound for Cooperstown fall into traps that ensnare their juniors. Pitchers are supposed to put lousy starts behind them, but Randy Johnson could not let go of his seven-walk game in Arizona last week.

Finally, after visiting his alma mater, Livermore High, and talking to the Baseball teams Thursday, he went home and thought to himself, "I really kind of have to get going here."

The Big Unit did not stop until he secured his 297th win with seven shutout innings in a rain-soaked 3-2 victory against the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.

History oozes through China Basin every time Johnson takes the mound. He insisted again he is not obsessed with the five wins he needed for 300 when he signed with the Giants . He seems more concerned about cheating Father Time, proving doubters wrong and, most important, relishing the fact he is still here after two back surgeries.

"You pick up a newspaper tomorrow and you wouldn't know I was 45 instead of 25," he said. "That's the beauty of the game. I'm not here to win five games and be a big question mark every five days."

The only question mark Friday was the Giants' bullpen, specifically Bobby Howry and Jeremy Affeldt, who allowed two eighth-inning runs to jeopardize Johnson's win.

Closer Brian Wilson provided an emphatic answer. He struck out Ryan Spilborghs on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth to preserve the one-run lead, then survived a ninth-inning walk to Chris Iannetta to complete the four-out save, his sixth in seven chances.

Even if Johnson is not ready to view each win as another important page in his history book, Wilson is.

"When I watch the game in the fourth inning and there are no hits, and the sixth inning and he's still pitching a shutout, and he goes seven innings and it goes to the bullpen, I get a little sense of urgency," Wilson said. "I want to get in there and shut the game off right there. I hope I can keep getting saves for him when he gets to 300."

Johnson beat the Rockies for the 19th time, more than any other opponent. The Giants won for the eighth time in their last 10 games to go above .500, at 11-10, for the first time since they were 2-1. This is not the latest the Giants have had a winning record during manager Bruce Bochy's tenure. The last Barry Bonds team in 2007 was 24-23 en route to a 71-91 finish.

Johnson walked none and struck out nine, including his first five hitters, and scattered four singles. He has not allowed a run in his last 14 innings at home, in fact, since the fifth inning of his San Francisco debut April 8.

Backing Johnson was an RBI double from Travis Ishikawa, a Seattle-area native who knows his way around rain, Bengie Molina's 19th RBI, a sacrifice fly, and a seventh-inning sac fly from Randy Winn that scored Ishikawa, whose leadoff single against Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez ignited the rally.

Johnson's only scare at least while he was on the mound came in the sixth inning, when the Rockies had runners on the corners and one out in a 2-0 game with Todd Helton at the plate. Johnson needed one pitch to shatter Helton's bat and get an inning-ending double play, which prompted a show of emotion from a pitcher who seems to be holding his feelings about his impending 300th win in check for now.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 2, 2009

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