NEW YORK (AP) -- Randy Johnson wasn't sure how he was going to
pitch in his first start in a week.
The rested Big Unit ended up surprising himself.
Johnson (9-6) allowed four hits, struck out a season-high nine
and didn't walk a batter. He was pitching on six days' rest after
serving a five-game suspension for throwing at Cleveland's Eduardo
Perez on June 14.
"Being under house arrest for it seemed like forever, it was
nice to get back out there and pitch," Johnson said, "but to be
honest with you, pleasantly surprised to be in command as much as I
was with all my pitches."
Johnson didn't allow a runner past first base until Edgar
Renteria went to third on Chipper Jones' two-out single in the
The left-hander then struck out Andruw Jones to get out of the
inning. Johnson recorded seven strikeouts in his last three
innings. It was his first start against the Braves since he threw a
perfect game for Arizona in a 2-0 win at Atlanta on May 18, 2004.
"I know he had a lot of rest between starts," Braves manager
Bobby Cox said of Johnson. "It looked like it. When his slider is
right, you can't hit it -- you just can't hit it."
Johnson retired eight in a row before Matt Diaz reached on an
error by third baseman Alex Rodriguez with one out in the fifth.
The Big Unit then struck out Wilson Betemit and Adam LaRoche to get
out of the inning.
Johnson said he felt good throwing his fastball, slider and
split-fingered fastball after he loosened up.
"I got ahead in the count and got them to chase pitches because
of the command with the three pitches that I had today," Johnson
said. "It was all pretty surprising to be able to throw all three
pitches for strikes, especially late in the game when I haven't
pitched in a week."
After a rough stretch earlier this season, Johnson has gone at
least six innings in five of his last six starts. He has allowed
four runs in his last 20 1-3 innings.
"He just seems very comfortable right now," Yankees manager
Joe Torre said. "... He seems to be able to do what he wants to
do. I'm not talking about getting people out, I'm just talking
about making pitches."
Mariano Rivera got the last two outs for his 17th save in 19
New York scored five runs in the first two innings against Tim
Hudson (6-7), who lost his third consecutive start and dropped to
1-4 in June.
Jeter singled with two outs in the first and Giambi followed
with a drive to right off his former Oakland teammate. The Yankees
loaded the bases after Giambi's 21st homer but Hudson got Bubba
Crosby to line out to end the inning.
Giambi hit a three-run homer on a full-count pitch from Hudson
with two outs in the second to make it 5-0.
"He was a great teammate but it's always fun taking at-bats
against him because he's so good," said Giambi, who played with
Hudson for three seasons with the Athletics. "He definitely makes
you think up there so luckily I got two pitches that he kind of
left up in the strike zone."
Hudson shut out the Yankees over the next three innings. He
allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out one. He has given up
14 runs in his last 19 innings.
"Both pitches were changeups that were down but they came over
the plate a little more than I wanted them to," Hudson said of
Giambi's two homers. "In another park, I don't know if they're
homers but here they are."
Chipper Jones hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning and went
3-for-4 for Atlanta. Kevin Barry also threw three scoreless innings
in his major league debut.
Cox was ejected by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt after
Rivera struck out Diaz looking on a full-count pitch with one out
in the ninth. It was his sixth ejection of the season. ... Yankees
2B Robinson Cano felt better Monday after leaving the nightcap of a
day-night doubleheader against the Marlins on Sunday with a
strained left hamstring. General manager Brian Cashman said Cano
was walking normal before the game but feels tight. He said they
would monitor him over the next day or so before deciding whether
to place him on the disabled list. ... Atlanta LHP Chuck James'
first major league win against Tampa Bay on Sunday looked even
better a day later. Damon Hollins' pop-fly double that glanced off
the glove of shortstop Betemit was changed to an error, giving
Betemit two errors on the play. The change took a hit and an earned
run off James' line. He allowed two hits and one unearned run in
eight innings against the Devil Rays.