Randy Johnson is a dozen wins from reaching his 300th career victory, but he hasn't gotten any closer to that mark in more than a month.
Johnson looks to bounce from his worst outing of the season and avoid dropping four straight starts for the first time in nine years on Friday when he takes the ball for the Arizona Diamondbacks in the series opener of their three-game set against the Minnesota Twins.Johnson (4-4, 4.76 ERA) went 3-0 with a 3.19 ERA in five May starts for the NL West-leading Diamondbacks (39-34), but June has been a complete disaster for the Big Unit.Johnson has posted a 7.71 ERA in losing his three starts this month, and has not lost four consecutive starts since dropping five in a row June 20-July 10, 1999.The 44-year-old left-hander is tied with Tommy John for 24th on the all-time list with 288 career victories, but is winless in his last five starts.On Saturday, Johnson was tagged for season highs of eight runs and 10 hits in just 4 1-3 innings of a 12-3 loss to Kansas City."It was just a poorly pitched game on my part," Johnson said.He hopes to get things turned around at the Metrodome, where he hasn't pitched since Aug. 16, 1995, when he played for Seattle.Johnson has recorded a 0.35 ERA in winning his last three starts over the Twins -- throwing one- and two-hitters among those victories -- but he hasn't faced them since July 26, 2005, while pitching for the New York Yankees. He is 11-7 with a 3.07 ERA in 23 games -- 22 starts -- lifetime against Minnesota (37-36).The Diamondbacks defeated Oakland 2-1 on Thursday, and have won back-to-back games following a three-game skid. They have not won three consecutive games since winning four straight May 13-16.Justin Upton hit an eighth-inning homer Thursday to break a 1-all tie, and also doubled and scored Arizona's other run.Upton, who was benched Wednesday, was hitless in his previous 10 at-bats and 2-for-32 (.063) with 17 strikeouts in his previous 13 games."It has been pretty tough, but in the end, it's a game where you're going to fail a lot, and it's something you have to live with," Upton said. "But to play the way I did (Thursday), hopefully it turns things around."The Diamondbacks are 15-19 on the road, and begin a nine-game trip Friday.The Twins are coming off a 9-3 win over Washington on Thursday to sweep the three-game series against the Nationals and win for the sixth time in their last eight games at the Metrodome."It's all about us winning at home," manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins' official Web site. "When a team comes in here, it doesn't matter who they are. You have to win at home."Joe Mauer went 2-for-4 Thursday, and finished the series 6-for-11 with three walks and four runs.Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run triple and reached base all four times Thursday, but will miss Friday's game to be with his wife for the induced birth of their first child."Randy Johnson-itis," Gardenhire joked.The Twins counter with Scott Baker (2-2, 3.71), who gave up three runs, seven hits and struck out a season-high nine in a 4-2 loss to Milwaukee on Sunday. In the third inning, Baker struck out four to become the first Minnesota pitcher to accomplish the feat.Although he hasn't won since April 9, Baker has pitched well since his return from the disabled list with a strained right groin. In three starts since coming off the DL on June 5, the right-hander is 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA.This will be his first career start against the Diamondbacks.These teams haven't played since the Twins took two of three at Arizona June 7-9, 2005.