The five-time Cy Young Award winner limited his former team to
three hits in seven innings, leading the Yankees to a 2-0 victory
over Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.
"I'm here to win," Johnson said. "No doubt, it's been a
disappointing year, but I know what I'm capable of doing. I think
the game that I pitched today was coming."
The Yankees split the first two games of the series, but Mike
Mussina lasted only three innings in a win Monday night and Shawn
Chacon gave up eight runs in a loss Tuesday night.
"I don't get worked up against who I'm pitching against,"
Johnson said of the highly touted Hernandez.
But Yankees manager Joe Torre emphasized Johnson rose to the
occasion and wanted to have a big game.
"Randy was certainly equal to the task," Torre said. "He just
dominated tonight. There's been a lot of talk about Hernandez all
week and the changing of the guard."
Seattle manager Mike Hargrove saluted Johnson's performance.
"That's the best I've seen him in a long time," Hargrove said.
"He is awfully good anyway, but he was right on top of his game
Hernandez (2-2) was nearly as good, but allowed homers to rookie
Robinson Cano and Gary Sheffield. Hernandez said he threw a
fastball to Sheffield for the second homer and a changeup to Cano
for the first.
"It was two pitches and two runs and two mistakes," he said
through a translator.
In only his second start at Safeco Field, the Big Unit had one
of the best games of his up-and-down first season with the Yankees.
He struck out seven and walked two, lowering his ERA to 4.09, in
his 28th start before being replaced by Tom Gordon at the start of
Johnson pitched for the Mariners from 1989-98, winning his first
Cy Young Award with them in 1995.
Yankees catcher John Flaherty said fans in New York are starting
to see vintage Johnson, who will turn 42 on Sept. 10.
"I think you're seeing the Randy Johnson attitude that we've
been waiting to see," he said. "It was a great night for him."
Mariners slugger Richie Sexson said he thought Johnson wanted to
shine again in Seattle.
"He's intense," Sexson said. "Back in the old city again, I'm
sure that played a role."
Mariano Rivera finished the four-hitter, earning his second save
of the series and his 35th in 39 opportunities.
Hernandez, who has a 98 mph fastball, pitched eight innings,
giving up two runs on four hits and four walks, with seven
strikeouts. It was his sixth start for Seattle.
Cano gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the third when he homered to
right, his ninth of the season.
In the fourth, Sheffield hit his 28th homer, the 443rd of his
career. He moved into sole possession of 30th place on the all-time
list, ahead of Dave Kingman.
Ichiro Suzuki moved Betancourt to third with a groundout, but
Johnson got Jamal Strong on a called third strike on a 96 mph
fastball and induced Raul Ibanez to ground out to end the inning --
after first baseman Tino Martinez gave Ibanez another chance when
he dropped a foul popup for an error.
Adrian Beltre got an infield hit and Jose Lopez singled to
center for the Mariners with one out in the seventh, but Johnson
got Mike Morse to fly out, moving Beltre to third, and then got
Yorvit Torrealba to hit into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Playing with a tight right groin, third baseman Alex Rodriguez
turned in the game's best defensive play in the third. He
backhanded Suzuki's hard grounder and made a jump throw from about
10 feet in foul territory to get the speedy Suzuki at first.
"I got tested a little bit," Rodriguez said. "I'm still a
The Yankees got their 10th shutout and the Mariners were
shut out for the fifth time this season. The Yankees tied Oakland
for the most shutouts in the American League. ... The Mariners had
their sixth sellout crowd of the season. ... Four Mariners players
faced Johnson for the first time; Lopez, Morse, Strong and
Betancourt. ... Bernie Williams pinch hit for Martinez in the ninth
after the first baseman strained his ribcage after taking a swing.
"We'll see how it is tomorrow," Martinez said. ... In two starts
against the Mariners at Safeco, Johnson is 2-0 and hasn't allowed a
run in 16 innings, with 11 hits, three walks and 17 strikeouts.