Final in 10

Series: Game 1 of 3

Cincinnati leads 1-0 (as of 8/20)

Game 1: Friday, August 20
in 10
Game 2: Saturday, August 21
Game 3: Sunday, August 22

Reds 2

(58-63, 27-36 away)

Diamondbacks 0

(37-86, 19-44 home)

    10:05 PM ET, August 20, 2004

    Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona 

    R H E
    CIN - -
    ARI - -

    W: L. Hudson (1-1)

    L: R. Johnson (12-11)

    S: J. Valentine (1)

    Johnson has struck out double digits 200 times

    PHOENIX (AP) -- Randy Johnson earned the respect of the Cincinnati Reds. He just didn't get the win.

    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 ballgames, unfortunately.

    "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.

    Freel walked leading off the game, stole second, advanced on Larkin's flyout and scored when first baseman Shea Hillenbrand booted Adam Dunn's grounder for an error.

    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 little mistakes."

    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," he said.

    Game notes

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press