Randy Johnson the 300-game winner didn’t look exactly like Randy Johnson the 100-game or 200-game winner, but he certainly looked good enough to join pitching’s most exclusive club.
With six innings of efficient, two-hit ball, the Big Unit took care of the Nationals this evening and was credited with the victory as the Giants topped Washington 5-1 in the first game of a twi-night doubleheader at Nationals Park.
Johnson, the 24th pitcher in baseball history to reach the 300-win mark, wasn’t quite his dominating self from earlier in his brilliant career. He only struck out two batters and was pulled after only six innings and 78 pitches. But he was more than effective enough, retiring the first 10 batters he faced and not allowing a hit until Elijah Dukes’ groundball single in the fifth.
Johnson did start to fade as the game wore on and rain began to fall. he allowed an unearned run in the sixth and then was replaced the following inning by manager Bruce Bochy, with the Giants clinging to a 2-1 lead.
Relievers Brandon Medders, Jeremy Affeldt and Brian Wilson finished things off, keeping the Nationals from scoring again over the game’s final three innings and securing the win for Johnson, though it sure got interesting.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth, Adam Dunn worked the count full. Wilson’s 3-2 fastball appeared to be low, and Dunn took four steps toward first base. But plate umpire Tim Timmons called it a strike, and Dunn had to be restrained by manager Manny Acta.
The Giants then padded their lead with three runs off Nationals closer Joel Hanrahan in the top of the ninth, all but ensuring the final outcome.
Washington rookie Jordan Zimmermann, who was 2 when Johnson made his big league debut for the Montreal Expos in 1988, was just as effective as his counterpart. Zimmermann allowed two runs in the second but was perfect in his other five innings on the mound.
But the Nationals couldn’t produce enough offense to get the young right-hander off the hook and prevent Johnson from securing his place in history.