7:35 PM ET, May 18, 2004
Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
ATLANTA (AP) -- Randy Johnson had pretty much done it all -- Cy Young Awards, a no-hitter, strikeout records, a World Series championship.
|Unit By The Numbers|
Randy Johnson pitched the 17th perfect game in major league history, dominating the Braves with a fastball that reached 97-98 mph and a hard-veering slider. Here is perfection by the numbers:
Only one thing was missing in his brilliant career, that rarest of pitching feats.At the ripe ol' age of 40, the Big Unit took care of that, too. Johnson became the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game, retiring all 27 hitters to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Atlanta Braves 2-0 Tuesday night. "A game like this was pretty special," said Johnson, a five-time Cy Young Award winner. "It doesn't come along very often." It was the 17th perfect game in major league history, the 15th since the modern era began in 1900 and the first since the New York Yankees' David Cone against Montreal on July 18, 1999. "Everything he's done up to this point pales in comparison," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. Johnson struck out 13 and went to three balls on just one hitter -- Johnny Estrada in the second inning. Estrada fouled off three straight 3-2 pitches before going down swinging. Late in the game, Johnson sat stoically in the dugout, staring at the ground with his eyes closed, appearing to be almost asleep. "It didn't faze me," the left-hander said. "Winning the game was the biggest, most important thing."
Randy Johnson's days with the Diamondbacks could be numbered ... or maybe not.
"Not bad for being 40 years old," he said. "Everything was locked in."While it was the first perfect game of Johnson's career, it was his second no-hitter. He no-hit Detroit for Seattle on June 2, 1990, walking six. "That was far from perfect," he recalled. "I was a very young pitcher who didn't have any idea where the ball was going. I was far from being a polished pitcher. Fourteen years later, I've come a long way as far as knowing what I want to do."
|Most Years Between No-Nos|
Within seconds, Johnson was mobbed by the rest of his teammates."He could smell it at the end," Estrada said. The crowd of 23,381 at Turner Field gave Johnson a standing ovation as he walked slowly toward the dugout. He waved in several directions before disappearing down the tunnel. "Randy! Randy! Randy!" the fans chanted. He became only the fifth pitcher to throw no-hitters in both the National and American leagues, joining Young, Jim Bunning, Hideo Nomo and Nolan Ryan. The crowd sensed history in the making when J.D. Drew grounded out to end the eighth. The Atlanta fans gave Johnson (4-4) a standing ovation as he trudged off the mound, then another when he batted in the ninth. While the Braves hit several balls hard off Johnson, the closest thing to a hit was a slow roller by Johnson's Atlanta counterpart, Mike Hampton, in the sixth. Alex Cintron scooped up the ball and threw out Hampton by a half-step. Johnson lingered near the third-base line, giving Cintron a pat with the glove as he ran off the field. Cintron also was the offensive hero, driving in Arizona's first run and scoring the other. There were few other close calls against Johnson. Atlanta's first hitter, Jesse Garcia, led off with a bunt toward first and tried to reach with a headfirst slide, but Shea Hillenbrand managed to make the tag. In the fifth, Drew hit a liner toward the right-field corner, only to have Danny Bautista make a basket catch. "This was a legitimate perfect game, any way you slice it," Estrada said. Johnson threw the first no-hitter in Seattle history and now he's pulled off the same feat for a different team. This was the first no-hitter for Arizona, which joined the major leagues in 1998. The Braves, who started a makeshift infield because of injuries to Marcus Giles and Rafael Furcal, were no-hit for the first time in 25 years. Ken Forsch of Houston did it on April 7, 1979.
Regular Season Series
|2nd||A Cintron doubled to deep center, D Bautista scored, A Cintron to third on error by catcher J Estrada.||1||0|
|7th||C Tracy singled to center, A Cintron scored, R Hammock out at third.||2||0|
|View complete Play-By-Play|
|Stadium||Turner Field, Atlanta, GA|
|Attendance||23,381 (47.4% full) - % is based on regular season capacity|
|Weather||73 degrees, cloudy|
|Umpires||Home Plate - Greg Gibson, First Base - Bruce Dreckman, Second Base - Gerry Davis, Third Base - Larry Poncino|