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Johnson shuts down the Tigers

May 19, 2008|From the Associated Press

PHOENIX -- No longer armed with an intimidating fastball and crackling slider, Randy Johnson is finding new ways to win.

Mixing a sinker and split-finger fastball into his repertoire, Johnson pitched seven scoreless innings for his 288th victory, and the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4-0, on Sunday.

"Back when a lot of these guys faced him, it was fastball in, slider in," Arizona Manager Bob Melvin said. "Now he throws a sinker, he throws a split, uses both sides of the plate a little bit more."

The 44-year-old Johnson (4-1) climbed into a tie with Tommy John for 24th on the all-time victory list.

"He's been amazing," said center fielder Chris Young, who had three runs batted in, including a two-run double.

Mark Reynolds added three hits for the Diamondbacks, who improved to a major league-best 28-16 and increased their lead in the NL West to 5 1/2 games over the Dodgers.

Johnson went a season-long seven innings to win his fourth straight decision, giving up six hits and a walk and striking out five. Melvin lifted his lefty after 98 pitches.

"It's just getting into a flow and getting the rhythm and throwing the ball where he wants to," Melvin said. "If he does that, then a lot of times he's going to have results like he did today."

Johnson was the last pitcher to no-hit the Tigers; he did it on June 2, 1990, while pitching for Seattle.

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