Johnson passes Carlton

Posted: Thursday, September 16, 2004

PHOENIX -- Knowing he was close to beating Steve Carlton's major league record for strikeouts by a left-hander, Randy Johnson still prepared the same way.

His intense single-mindedness paid off Wednesday night, when Johnson fanned 11 and led the Arizona Diamondbacks past the Colorado Rockies 3-2.

Johnson pitched eight strong innings and finished with 4,139 strikeouts, passing Carlton (4,136) for third overall on the career list behind only Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Roger Clemens (4,287).

''I went about it pretty much the same way as I've gone about every game that I've pitched this year,'' Johnson said. ''You know, strikeouts aren't easy. It's not something that you can go out and do. If it was, a lot of people would be striking out a lot more batters.

''Once again, it's a longevity thing, and I've been fortunate and blessed that I've been healthy the majority of my career.''

Manager Al Pedrique thought his ace was soft-peddling the feat.

''If we look back when he was with Seattle, (there were) a lot of rumors that probably he wasn't going to pitch again because of back problems,'' manager Al Pedrique said. ''He's got to work real hard to get back in the game and show people that he has a lot left in him, and he's done it.''

The Big Unit tied Carlton in the fifth when he struck out Brad Hawpe, then got Vinny Castilla in the seventh for No. 4,137.

''I'm not the only one, that's for sure,'' Castilla joked. ''How many has he got? He's a great pitcher.''

Play was interrupted momentarily while the scoreboard flashed the statistics and the crowd cheered the workhorse of their struggling team. Despite Johnson's big night, the paid attendance was announced as 22,598 -- the second-lowest ever at Bank One Ballpark.

''I knew before the game he was going to get it,'' said awed catcher Chris Snyder, who was with Double-A El Paso until mid-August. ''I mean, just one of those feelings.''

Giants 8, Brewers 1

MILWAUKEE -- Barry Bonds barely missed his 700th homer, but J.T. Snow connected following yet another walk to the San Francisco slugger and the Giants beat the Brewers 8-1 behind Brett Tomko's four-hitter.

Bonds went 0-for-4 with a first-inning flyout to the right-field warning track, leaving him at 699. He is expected to start Thursday afternoon in the series finale at Miller Park.

Cubs 13, Pirates 5

CHICAGO -- Sammy Sosa hit his first grand slam in more than two years to lead the Chicago Cubs to a rout of Pittsburgh.

Sosa also had a solo shot as the Cubs hit three straight home runs in the first inning. Derrek Lee, Sosa and Michael Barrett connected in succession, and Neifi Perez added a two-run shot in the sixth.

Expos 6, Marlins 2, 1st game

Expos 10, Marlins 4, 2nd game

MIAMI -- Tony Batista and Val Pascucci hit three-run homers to lift Montreal to a doubleheader sweep of Florida.

Brad Wilkerson hit his ninth leadoff homer of the season in Montreal's victory in the first game, which featured Brian Schneider getting picked off by Mike Lowell's hidden ball trick.

The teams resumed their five-game series in Florida after the Marlins won the first two games at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Those games were moved because of the threat of Hurricane Ivan.

Phillies 9, Reds 1

CINCINNATI -- Brett Myers pitched six solid innings and drove in the go-ahead run, helping Philadelphia salvage the finale of a three-game series with Cincinnati.

Cardinals 4, Astros 2

ST. LOUIS -- Jim Edmonds' sacrifice fly snapped an eighth-inning tie and Matt Morris bounced back from one of his worst starts of the season, bringing St. Louis one step closer to the NL Central championship with a victory over Houston.

Edmonds also hit his 42nd homer, matching his career best set in 2000. The Cardinals have won only three of eight, but reduced their magic number for clinching the division to four.

Braves 2, Mets 0

NEW YORK -- Lame-duck manager Art Howe and the listless New York Mets lost for the 21st time in 25 games, with John Thomson pitching Atlanta to a win on a drizzly evening.

Padres 7, Dodgers 3

LOS ANGELES -- Brian Lawrence settled down after a shaky start to pitch six solid innings, and Brian Giles had three hits including a tiebreaking homer to lead San Diego over Los Angeles.

The NL West-leading Dodgers' lead was cut to 3 1/2 games over San Francisco, an 8-1 winner at Milwaukee. San Diego moved within 6 1/2 games of Los Angeles in the division race and remained three back of the Giants in the wild-card race.

The first five Los Angeles batters hit safely, good for three runs, but Lawrence (15-12) allowed only two hits and no runs after that before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.

Giles hit his 22nd homer off Wilson Alvarez (7-6) in the sixth inning to snap a 3-3 tie.

Trevor Hoffman, the fifth San Diego pitcher, got the final three outs for his 37th save in 41 chances. Hoffman, who relieved Blaine Neal with two on and nobody out, has 391 saves and trails Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley by one for third on the career list.

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