‘Big Unit’ shuts down Jays

Randy Johnson is showing no signs of slowing down.
The towering 40-year-old lefty struck out 11 and won his sixth-straight start, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday.
Johnson (9-4) started his streak with his perfect game against Atlanta on May 18. He’s tied with 41-year-old Roger Clemens and 39-year-old Kenny Rogers for the most wins in the big leagues.
“I don’t get too wrapped up with the run that I’m on,” Johnson said. “I just want to go out there and try to pitch a quality game every time I’m out there, and if you do that, you can get on a streak like this.”
It was the 196th time Johnson has struck out 10 or more in a game. He allowed two runs on six hits and two walks in six-plus innings.
He settled down after allowing two runs in the first.
“If you throw out the first and seventh, everything in-between was pretty good,” Johnson said. “We recovered from the first inning and played good ball.”
Mike Koplove allowed one run in two innings of relief. Randy Choate got the first two outs of the ninth, then Jose Valverde retired pinch-hitter Howie Clark for his eighth save in 10 chances.
Scott Hairston homered for the Diamondbacks, who completed their first winning road trip of the season (4-2).
“Any time you make a long trip like this to the East Coast, playing against two teams that we knew little about, to come away with four wins is very acceptable,” said Arizona manager Bob Brenly, whose team also took two of three from Baltimore.
Blue Jays shortstop Chris Woodward allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score in the second inning when a groundball skipped past him into left field.
“You can’t give them two extra runs in a game, especially against Randy Johnson,” Woodward said.
Frank Menechino led off the bottom of the first with a homer off Johnson. Gregg Zaun later hit an RBI double, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead.
Luis Gonzalez and Shea Hillenbrand hit consecutive singles off Ted Lilly (5-3) in the second before Lilly walked Tim Olson, loading the bases.
Doug DeVore followed with a hard grounder to Menechino at second base, but he couldn’t turn a double-play after bobbling the ball. Menechino threw to first, allowing Gonzalez to score on DeVore’s RBI grounder.
Robby Hammock followed with a groundball to Woodward, who allowed two unearned runs to score on his error.
Hairston homered off Lilly in the seventh.
Lilly allowed four runs (two earned) and six hits in 6 1/3 innings, losing for the first time since April 21 against Boston—a span of 10 starts.
“I thought we played a decent game,” Lilly said. “Matching up against a guy like Randy, I knew we had to battle.”
Elsewhere in interleague action yesterday, Phildadelphia nipped Minnesota 2-1, Boston beat L.A. 4-1, the Chicago Cubs edged Anaheim 6-5 (15 innings), the Chicago White Sox dumped Atlanta 10-3, Cleveland topped Cincinnati 10-8, and Florida thumped Detroit 9-2.
The N.Y. Mets downed Kansas City 5-2, the N.Y. Yankees edged San Diego 6-5 (12 innings), Oakland routed Pittsburgh 13-3, San Francisco dumped Baltimore 7-3; St. Louis pounded Texas 13-2, and Tampa Bay nipped Colorado 3-2.
In the lone NL game, Houston beat Milwaukee 5-4.