Series: Game 1 of 4

Arizona leads 1-0 (as of 9/26)

Game 1: Thursday, September 26
Colorado 2Final
Arizona 4
Game 2: Friday, September 27
Colorado 6Final
Arizona 8
Game 3: Saturday, September 28
Colorado 8Final
Arizona 17
Game 4: Sunday, September 29
Colorado 8Final
Arizona 11

Rockies 2

(73-86, 26-52 away)

Diamondbacks 4

(95-64, 52-26 home)

    9:35 PM ET, September 26, 2002

    Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona 

    123456789 R H E
    COL 000002000 2 - -
    ARI 01300000 - 4 - -

    W: R. Johnson (24-5)

    L: R. Flores (0-2)

    Johnson: MLB-best 24 wins, 334 strikeouts

    PHOENIX (AP) -- With Arizona in dire need of a victory, baseball's winningest pitcher came through.


    Randy Johnson, in his first outing in a week, pitched a six-hitter for his major league-leading 24th victory, and the Diamondbacks snapped a six-game losing streak by beating the Colorado Rockies 4-2 Thursday night.

    "Given the circumstances, this might have been his biggest game of the year,'' Arizona manager Bob Brenly said.

    Johnson won his last five starts and was 11-1 in his final 13. Over the past decade in the month of September, he is 28-1. His next start will be in the playoff opener.

    "We're doing the best we can,'' Colorado's Larry Walker said, "but when you've got god on the mound throwing against you, it makes it tough. That's why he's going to win another Cy Young.''

    Matt Williams tripled in three runs as the Diamondbacks (95-64) reduced their magic number to win the NL West to two. Arizona, which already has clinched a playoff berth, leads idle San Francisco (92-66) by 2½ games.

    With the victory, Johnson finished with the NL's most victories, most strikeouts (334) and lowest ERA (2.32).

    "I've never accomplished what I accomplished,'' Johnson said. "I had it done against me with Roger Clemens in '97. To win the triple crown, if you will, in pitching is pretty great. But I'll have to think about that another time because right now we're still battling for home-field advantage, and don't have time to get caught up in that.''

    Arizona outfielder Quinton McCracken had to be helped from the field after he fouled a ball off his left foot for the second time in the game in the seventh inning. The Diamondbacks already have lost outfielder Luis Gonzalez, infielder Craig Counsell and pitcher Brian Anderson to season-ending injuries.

    "It's like there's a sniper in the stands taking Diamondbacks out left and right,'' Walker said.

    Fortunately for Arizona, McCracken's injury was only a deep bruise.

    Johnson (24-5), who struck out eight, has led the majors in strikeouts each of his four seasons with Arizona. His season total is the 10th-hghest in major league history.

    "There wasn't a better guy to have out there,'' catcher Chad Moeller said, "and he came through just like we needed him too.''

    Johnson, who walked two and hit a batter, has four complete games in his last seven starts and eight this season. After loading the bases in the ninth on a bunt single and a pair of walks, he retired Juan Pierre on a game-ending groundout.

    Mark Little, getting a rare start in the outfield, added an RBI triple as Arizona ended its longest losing skid in two years.

    Johnson pulled ahead of teammate Curt Schilling (23-7) for the most wins in the major leagues. Johnson's previous career-best was 21 victories last year.

    If the Diamondbacks win the NL West, they would face St. Louis in the division series starting Tuesday. Both teams are 95-64, but the Cardinals won the season series 4-2 with a three-game sweep this week and would have the home-field advantage if they finish with identical records.

    If Arizona is the wild card, it would open Wednesday at Atlanta.

    Colorado's Brent Butler was ejected by plate umpire Joe West after arguing a called third strike in the seventh inning. It was the third time Butler struck out in three at-bats.

    Randy Flores (0-2), making his second major league start, allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings in his second big league start. The Rockies are 0-8 at Arizona this season.

    Johnson led off the third with a single, then Tony Womack reached safely on a bunt, his 1,000th major league hit. After the runners advanced on McCracken's sacrifice, Greg Colbrunn drew a two-out walk to load the bases.

    Williams' standup triple to the right-center wall gave Arizona a 4-0 lead.

    Colorado scored two unearned runs in the sixth after Jay Payton reached on Womack's fielding error at shortstop. Walker singled, Todd Helton had an RBI double and Walker scored on Todd Zeile's groundout.

    Game notes

    Helton was back in the lineup after missing two games to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter, the couple's first child. ... Arizona was back from a 2-7 road trip. ... Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly is more concerned about getting his players ready for the playoffs than winning the home-field advantage. "I don't think the home-field advantage is that big a deal,'' he said before the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press