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Johnson is wild Giants' victory


Johnson is wild Giants' victory
PHOENIX It was inevitable that Randy Johnson would step into a time machine Saturday night. He had made 126 career starts in Arizona's retractable-roof ballpark. This was his first as a visiting player.

But he didn't flash back to his dominant run with the Diamondbacks. He skipped to an earlier, wilder era.

Johnson struggled to throw strikes, didn't survive the fourth inning and issued seven walks for the first time in nearly a decade. Yet he didn't pitch the Giants out of the game, and their winning streak reached five after a 5-3 victory.

Edgar Renteria hit a tying two-run double off the center field wall in the fifth inning and Randy Winn followed with a two-run home run as the Giants evened their record at 8-8. Not counting the season-opening series, it's the first time they've been at .500 since May 26, 2007.

quot;Everything went pretty well,quot; said Johnson, quot;except for me showing up at the ballpark.quot;

The stadium echoed with Bruce Springsteen's quot;Glory Daysquot; as Johnson threw his final warmup pitches, but there was little fanfare or recognition for the man who won four of his five Cy Young awards in Arizona and was World Series co-MVP in 2001 when the franchise won its only championship.

The Diamondbacks entered with a .290 on-base percentage, the lowest in the majors. It didn't take them long to realize Johnson kept missing on the outer half to an all right-handed lineup.

quot;I could tell from the first pitch,quot; Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. quot;He was fighting himself. I'm sure he was hyped up. You'll have days when you don't have your good control. He competed and held 'em to two.quot;

Bochy removed Johnson after he issued a one-out walk to Felipe Lopez in the fourth. Justin Upton hit a two-run homer earlier in the inning to give Arizona a 2-0 lead.

It was Johnson's 22nd game with seven or more walks but his first since July 25, 2000, while pitching for the Diamondbacks. Prior to that, he hadn't issued seven or more walks in a start since 1997, when he was with the Seattle Mariners.

quot;I'd like to think it's unlike me to walk seven batters,quot; said Johnson, who talked with pride this spring about how he conquered his early career wildness. quot;I feel fine. Everything is fine. It's just one of those games I was behind in the count. I'm just glad it wasn't an insurmountable lead.quot;

Johnson needed his share of breaks, though. Left fielder Fred Lewis stabbed a line drive and doubled off Chris Young to help Johnson escape the second inning. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval made a diving catch in the third and Johnson got Eric Byrnes to ground out with the bases loaded.

Johnson's problems persisted in the fourth, when his 3-2 pitch to Young was wide and Upton followed with a shot estimated at 445 feet.

Right-hander Justin Miller stranded both of Johnson's runners, but the Giants required another break. Mark Reynolds hit a grounder that checked up on the infield grass. Second baseman Emmanuel Burriss made a desperate flip to first base and umpire Tom Hallion called Reynolds out. Replays appeared to show the Giants got the benefit of a bad call.

The bullpen continued to make pitches after Winn's home run off Max Scherzer put the Giants ahead. Jonathan Sanchez, who will start Tuesday against the Dodgers, pitched a scoreless inning. Bob Howry, Jeremy Affeldt and Brian Wilson navigated the final three.

And the Giants proved that they could win on a night their starter fails to dominate.

quot;I'm not going to psychoanalyze or dissect it,quot; said Johnson, who remained at 296 career victories. quot;It's just like last week. As soon as I walk out the door, I forget it and move on.quot;

Contact By Andrew Baggarly at abaggarly@mercurynews.com.Giants 5,D'BACKS 3TODAY: Giants (Matt Cain 2-0) at Diamondbacks (Jon Garland 2-1), 1:10 p.m. TV: CSNBA. Radio: 680-AM


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 26, 2009

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