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Johnson wins career-high 22nd game

9/14/2002

PHOENIX (AP) -- Randy Johnson praised his bullpen, even though he
didn't need it to earn his career-high 22nd victory.

"Offense, run support, good defense and a good bullpen,''
Johnson said about the reasons for his late-season dominance.
"Guys coming in after me and shutting the door. All those are
intangibles that have to be there for someone to win ball games.''

Arizona relievers didn't figure in this one.

Johnson pitched a three-hitter and struck out 17 to lead the
Diamondbacks to a 5-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Johnson (22-5) and Curt Schilling (23-5) are the first National
League teammates in 37 years to each win at least 22 games -- when
Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale did it for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The victory reduced Arizona's magic number for clinching the NL
West title to nine with 14 games left.

Johnson walked two and matched his season high in strikeouts,
and finished in double digits in Ks for the 15th time in 33 starts.
Johnson has struck out at least 10 batters 186 times in his career,
29 short of Nolan Ryan's major league record.

Johnson's other 20-win seasons were in 1997 with Seattle, and
last year's 21-6 campaign that earned him a third consecutive NL Cy
Young.

The Big Unit improved to 12-1 in 17 starts following an Arizona
loss.

"He doesn't mess around,'' Brewers manager Jerry Royster said.
"He such a serious, serious worker. He's just carving that game
up, and it's almost like he doesn't know what the score is.''

Junior Spivey homered for the Diamondbacks, who won for the
fourth time in five games. Steve Finley went 3-for-4 with two RBI,
and Tony Womack and David Dellucci each drove in a run.

Johnson used strikeouts to get out of trouble in the second and
third innings.

He walked Richie Sexson to start the second, fanned Jose Hernandez but gave up a single to Ryan Thompson that sent Sexson to
third. The threat ended when Johnson struck out Keith Ginter and
got Robert Machado to fly out.

In the third, Johnson ended the inning by striking out Sexson
with runners at first and second.

Then he hit his stride.

Counting Sexson, Johnson retired 13 in a row before Machado
singled leading off the eighth. But Johnson responded by striking
out the side.

"In the second and third inning, he didn't really struggle but
threw a lot more pitches than we usually like to see,'' Arizona
manager Bob Brenly said. "I think 20 in the second and 21 in the
third. But every inning other than those two, I thought he was
completely in command.''

Spivey gave Johnson a 4-0 cushion with a two-out solo shot off
reliever Valerio De Los Santos into the left-field grandstand in
the sixth.

"Any time you can give Randy some wiggle room, a guy with that
dominating stuff is usually going to be untouchable,'' Finley said.

The Diamondbacks scored once in each of the first three innings
off Milwaukee starter Nick Neugebauer (1-6), who allowed nine hits
and walked three in five innings.

Womack scored after each of Finley's doubles -- the 349th and
350th of his career.

Womack led off Arizona's first with a single, stole second and
ran home when Finley drove a ball into the gap. The pattern
repeated itself in the eighth, off reliever Andrew Lorraine.

Womack drove in a run in the second when he hit a one-hopper
that Hernandez couldn't handle at shortstop, allowing David Dellucci to score from third.

The Diamondbacks took a 3-0 lead when Erubiel Durazo hit a
leadoff triple in the third, followed by Dellucci's two-out
triple.

Game notes
Oakland's Bob Welch and Dave Stewart each reached 22 wins
in the AL in 1990. ... If Schilling gets eight strikeouts on
Sunday, he and Johnson would become the first teammates and only
the seventh pair of pitchers with 300 strikeouts in the same
season. Johnson, who also struck out 17 against Colorado on April
21, has 317 this season. ... The crowd of 39,022 pushed Arizona's
season attendance to 2,995,630. ... Milwaukee is 23-50 on the road,
worst in the NL. ... Johnson has struck out 15 or more 28 times,
including four this season. He has seven complete games -- tied with
Florida's A.J. Burnett and Kansas City's Paul Byrd -- and four
shutouts -- one behind Burnett.