Johnson struck out 14 for the second straight game and became
the second pitcher to reach double digits 200 times, but the Reds
beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0 Friday night with an unearned run
in the first inning and Barry Larkin's RBI single in the eighth.
"You know, this might be my last game against him," the
40-year-old Larkin said. "I know he's a warrior. The guys were
surprised to see him come out to bat leading off the seventh, and I
said, 'That's Randy Johnson over there."
Johnson (12-11) trails only Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan (215) in
games with 10 or more strikeouts. Johnson allowed four hits in 7
2-3 innings and walked three -- Ryan Freel got two of the walks and
scored the game's only runs.
"That's what you have to do against a pitcher like him," Reds
manager Dave Miley said. "Steal a couple of bases and then the RBI
hit from Larkin. We knew it would be tough."
The Big Unit, who leads the major leagues with 216 strikeouts,
threw a water cup angrily in the dugout after coming out. He also
struck out 14 on July 25 against Colorado and last Sunday at the
New York Mets.
"It's absolutely meaningless to me," the left-hander said
about the double-digit milestone. "It's one game today. I've been
around long enough to have done that, and there's even a column
where you can go out and do that kind of stuff and you'll lose
"So it doesn't have any bearing on the outcome."
Reds rookie Luke Hudson (1-1), recalled Sunday from Triple-A
Louisville to fill in for injured starter Paul Wilson, won his
second career start, allowing six hits, five walks and three wild
pitches in six innings.
Joe Valentine, Cincinnati's third pitcher, threw a perfect ninth
for his first career save in only his third big league appearance,
completing a six-hitter.
Arizona, which has lost 12 of 14, has scored three runs or fewer
in 10 of Johnson's last 12 starts. He is 3-5 in that span.
Felipe Lopez doubled with two outs in the second and advanced on
center fielder Luis Terrero's error. Johnson struck out Hudson to
end the threat and retired 17 of the next 18 batters.
Freel walked with two outs in the eighth, stole second and came
around on Larkin's single. After a single by D'Angelo Jimenez and a
walk to Dunn loaded the bases, Mike Koplove relieved and struck out
pinch-hitter Darren Bragg.
"Stealing is my game, and the way he's playing we've got to
take advantage of every opportunity," Freel said.
Soft-spoken Arizona manager Al Pedrique used a rare vulgarity to
describe his feelings about the lack of offense for the
Diamondbacks' only superstar.
"He kept us in the game, and to be honest I don't know what to
say when you have a guy on the mound like Randy," Pedrique said.
"He was outstanding. The one inning they scored the second run, he
left a couple of sliders over the plate. But, shoot, we got plenty
chances to score runs early in the game, and we keep making those
Arizona had runners in each of the first five innings, but hit
into double plays in the first three. The Diamondbacks didn't get a
hit after the fifth inning.
Freel threw out Johnson at the plate in the third after Danny
Bautista popped up to shallow right field.
Johnson, who also hit into an inning-ending forceout with the
bases loaded in the fourth, said he thought third base coach Glenn
Sherlock told him to go.
"If that's the key part of the game, there's something wrong,"
Johnson is 132-35 in his double-digit strikeout games. ...
The Reds are 11-22 since the All-Star break. ... Freel has 25
steals. ... Larkin, who made only his third start of the month,
tied Johnny Bench for third in Reds history with 2,158 games.