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BASEBALL EXTRA | ROUNDUP

Seattle's Johnson Can't Get Much Better

June 09, 1997|From Associated Press

Anyone still wondering about Randy Johnson's health?

Johnson, dominating hitters as if he had never had a back problem, took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and struck out 15 Sunday as the Mariners defeated the Detroit Tigers, 2-0, at Seattle.

Recently, the 6-foot-10 left-hander has never looked better. In his previous outing, he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Toronto and finished with a two-hit shutout; before that, he struck out 15 in eight innings against Texas.

"It's unbelievable what this guy does out there. He's awesome," Seattle catcher Dan Wilson said. "He's just on top of his game with his location and how he mixes his pitches up.

"It's great to be a part of it."

Phil Nevin's line-drive single to left field on the first pitch in the eighth ended Johnson's chance of pitching the first no-hitter of the season in the majors.

"I noticed he started six or seven guys in a row with a slider, so I went up there with that in mind," Nevin said. "He just happened to hang it up. That was the only pitch he gave me all day, and I don't think he made any other mistakes.

"It seemed like every time he got two strikes on a hitter, he stepped it up and went for the strikeout. We knew he had a no-hitter going."

Johnson left after throwing 125 pitches, 82 for strikes. Bobby Ayala pitched a one-hit ninth for his third save.

"We debated a little bit about sending him back out there, but we're trying to stick to a season-long plan as much as we can," Mariner Manager Lou Piniella said. "Randy was getting just a little stiff. He did his job and Bobby did his."

Facing the team he no-hit at the Kingdome on June 2, 1990, Johnson was disappointed to come so close to pitching the first no-hitter at Tiger Stadium since Nolan Ryan did it for the Angels on July 15, 1973.

"You want to get it when you get that close, but the bottom line is to win the ballgame," said Johnson, 5-0 in six starts since his lone loss May 8 at Baltimore.

"No one understands that throwing a no-hitter's not important, that strikeouts aren't important. All I want to do when I go out there is win."

Oakland 7, Toronto 5--Mark McGwire hit his 24th home run and Geronimo Berroa had a three-run shot as the Athletics held on at Toronto.

McGwire hit a two-run homer in the third off Luis Andujar (0-2) that caromed off the third-level windows in SkyDome, an estimated 436 feet. It was McGwire's 20th homer against the Blue Jays, his fewest against any club.

Don Wengert (3-3) didn't give up a hit until the sixth inning and benefited from Oakland's early runs.

McGwire has homered in five of his last seven games and 12 of 23. He has moved within one of Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. for the major league lead.

Baltimore 2, Chicago 1--Jimmy Key won his 10th game with seven strong innings and Roberto Alomar homered to give the Orioles the victory at Baltimore.

Key (10-1) gave up six hits and struck out a season-high nine, including Albert Belle twice on called third strikes. The left-hander lowered his earned-run average to 2.56 and is second in the AL in victories.

Alomar tied the score, 1-1, with a leadoff homer in the sixth inning, his seventh. One out later, Rafael Palmeiro, Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Tarasco singled to put the Orioles ahead, 2-1.

Boston 12, Cleveland 6--The Red Sox scored nine runs in the fourth, their most productive inning in nearly three years, and overcame the Indians' base-stealing flurry for the victory at Boston.

Cleveland built a 5-0 lead after three innings with the help of six stolen bases, including three by Matt Williams. The slugger had a total of five the past four years before getting nearly that many against the Red Sox.

But Boston ripped Chad Ogea (5-5) and took the lead in the fourth on seven hits, two walks and an error. It was their most productive inning since they scored 10 runs against Toronto on June 21, 1994.

New York 3, Milwaukee 1--Paul O'Neill hit a two-run homer and Tino Martinez had a solo shot, leading David Cone and the Yankees at Milwaukee.

Cone (7-3) struck out nine in seven innings.

O'Neill's 11th home run gave New York a 2-1 lead in the fourth against Jeff D'Amico (2-3). Martinez's 21st home run came in the eighth off reliever Doug Jones.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BESTS OF THE DAY

BATTING

Player: Matt Williams

Team: Cleveland

Performance: 3 stolen bases after only 5 the past four seasons

Team's Result: Loss

*

Player: Mark McGwire

Team: Oakland

Performance: Hit 24th homer, one shy of AL lead

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Roberto Alomar

Team: Baltimore

Performance: 2 for 2, double, homer, 2 walks

Team's Result: Win

PITCHING

Player: David Cone

Team: New York

Performance: 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 9 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Randy Johnson

Team: Seattle

Performance: 8 innings, 1 hit, no runs, 15 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

*

Player: Jimmy Key

Team: Baltimore

Performance: 7 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 9 strikeouts

Team's Result: Win

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