PHOENIX (AP) -- No longer armed with an intimidating fastball and crackling slider, Randy Johnson is finding new ways to win.
• Randy Johnson went a season-high seven innings en route to career win No. 288. The Big Unit has now won four straight decisions.
• The Tigers were blanked for the seventh time this season. They were shut out just three times last year.
• Detroit has now lost six of its last seven games and 13 of 15 overall.
• The Tigers have been outscored 141-42 in their last 22 losses.
-- ESPN Research
Mixing a sinker and split-finger fastball into his repertoire, Johnson pitched seven scoreless innings for his 288th career victory, and the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Detroit Tigers 4-0 on Sunday."Back when a lot of these guys faced him, it was fastball in, slider in," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "Now he throws a sinker, he throws a split, uses both sides of the plate a little bit more."The 44-year-old Johnson (4-1) climbed into a tie with Tommy John for 24th on the all-time victory list."He's been amazing," said center fielder Chris Young, who had three RBIs, including a two-run double.
Mark Reynolds added three hits for the Diamondbacks, who improved to a major league-best 28-16 and increased their lead in the NL West to 5 1/2 games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Johnson went a season-long seven innings to win his fourth straight decision, allowing six hits and a walk and striking out five. Melvin lifted his lefty after 98 pitches."It's just getting into a flow and getting the rhythm and throwing the ball where he wants to," Melvin said. "If he does that, then a lot of times he's going to have results like he did today."Johnson was the last pitcher to no-hit the Tigers; he did it on June 2, 1990, while pitching for Seattle.Eighteen years and several operations later, the Big Unit is a different pitcher. He came into Sunday's start having allowed 36 hits, 11 walks and three hit batsmen in 31 2/3 innings.In his last three outings, Johnson had surrendered 14 runs in 15 innings.
Junior Circuit Rules
The American League won this round of interleague play. The NL gets its chance again on June 13. Here are the stats from this weekend.
"My location was better, so therefore I didn't get hit like I had the last few starts where my location was off," Johnson said.Johnson is learning to survive with less than overpowering stuff. On Sunday, he worked out of early trouble against the woeful Tigers, who were shut out for the seventh time."Once he got out of a couple of jams early on, he just started rolling, and then seemed like from about the third inning on he threw almost every pitch right where he wanted to," Melvin said.Detroit put runners in scoring position in each of the first five innings but couldn't come up with a big hit.In the first, Johnson gave up back-to-back singles with one out before getting Magglio Ordonez to ground into a 4-6-3 double play."We had a shot right off the bat and we didn't get anything out of it," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.In the fourth, Johnson gave up a leadoff double to Miguel Cabrera, then struck out Marcus Thames, got Ryan Raburn on a pop to second and retired Brandon Inge on a liner to center to keep his shutout going.Johnson rolled from there, retiring 12 of the last 13 men he faced."Endurance-wise, I felt pretty good," Johnson said. "Today, there was quick innings. They were swinging early in the count, so I was able to get some fast outs."The Tigers, last in the AL Central, wrapped up a 1-5 trip to Kansas City and Arizona. They were outscored 23-12 on the trip."It's like a broken record," Leyland said. "We just haven't been swinging the bats. We didn't swing them today. Next question."The Tigers went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Sunday, and 1-for-20 in the series."I don't know what the answer is to this offense," Leyland said. "I can't figure it out."Detroit starter Nate Robertson (1-5) retired 10 of the first 11 men he faced. In the fifth, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with no outs. Robertson struck out Johnson but then gave up a double to Young to deep center, putting the Diamondbacks ahead 2-0."I just left a changeup up and he put a good swing on it," Robertson said.Robertson ran out of gas with two out in the sixth. He gave up a single to Reynolds and a double to Chris Burke, and Reynolds scored on Ordonez's fielding error -- his first in 180 games.Robertson walked Miguel Montero intentionally, then walked Johnson to load the bases.Leyland brought in Freddy Dolsi, who walked Young to make it 4-0.Robertson allowed four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out five.The Tigers will take Monday off and open a six-game homestand against Seattle on Tuesday night. "We'll go back home, and we keep on saying the same thing, get it going," Robertson said.
Ordonez was charged with his first error since April 6, 2007, at Kansas City, a span of 180 errorless games. It's the longest streak by a Detroit outfielder since Al Kaline went 242 straight errorless games from April 15, 1970, to July 2, 1972. ... Detroit OF Gary Sheffield flied out as a pinch-hitter. He went 0-for-10 on Detroit's six-game road trip and is hitting .189. ... Arizona improved to 13-8 all-time against Detroit in interleague play, and 8-4 in Phoenix.