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Johnson Gets 19, But It's Oakland That Gets Victory

June 25, 1997|From Associated Press

SEATTLE — Randy Johnson set a record for the most strikeouts by an American League left-hander--19--and lost.

"I was more worried about wanting to win the game than the strikeouts," Johnson said after falling one strikeout shy of the major league record in Seattle's 4-1 loss to Oakland on Tuesday night.

Mark McGwire hit a 538-foot home run, the longest of his career, and an RBI double to beat Johnson (11-2).

"I've said all along that strikeout games and low-hit games are kind of just icing on the cake," said Johnson after emerging from an hour-long ice treatment after the game. "The biggest thing was to go out there and win the ballgame."

Johnson, who has won four AL strikeout titles and leads the majors this season with 157, nearly matched the nine-inning record of 20 set twice by Roger Clemens. Clemens did it in 1986 and 1996 for Boston.

"That's the way it goes," said Johnson, who walked none and gave up 11 hits. "I've just got to work hard to prepare myself for my next start."

He became the fifth pitcher to strike out 19, joining Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton and David Cone. Like Johnson, Carlton lost when he struck out 19.

The Athletics ended a five-game losing streak and broke the Mariners' five-game winning streak.

Johnson's previous career high was 18, accomplished in only eight innings at Texas on Sept. 27, 1992. Johnson got a no-decision in that game.

Johnson struck out 15 in the first six innings. The 6-foot-10 left-hander got no strikeouts in the seventh but added three victims in the eighth.

He said he became aware that he had a chance at baseball history in "the seventh or eighth inning."

In the ninth, Johnson had an 0-2 count on leadoff man Scott Brosius, who flied out. George Williams followed with a home run, then Johnson struck out rookie Mark Bellhorn for No. 19.

With a chance to tie Clemens, Johnson got his last out on a fly ball by rookie Jason McDonald.


Next Series for Angels

WHO: Seattle Mariners

WHERE: at Seattle

WHEN: Thursday: 7 p.m., Friday: 7 p.m., Saturday: 7 p.m., Sunday: 1:30 p.m.

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