Johnson Rebounds In Detroit, Takes No-Hitter Into Sixth

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The New York Sun

DETROIT – Randy Johnson was dominant on the mound, and defiant off it. Johnson didn’t give up a hit for 5 2/3 innings and combined with two relievers for a two-hitter,leading the Yankees over the Detroit Tigers 4-0 yesterday.

The 42-year-old Johnson, who had given up at least four runs in five of his previous six outings, allowed just two hits and three walks while striking out four over six-plus innings.

“One good game doesn’t make a whole year,” Johnson bristled.”But five or six bad games for me doesn’t make a year, either. It doesn’t mean I’m done.”

Ivan Rodriguez broke up Johnson’s bid for his third nohitter – and second against Detroit – with a single to right.

“I couldn’t have cared less,” Johnson said.”If I had a perfect game, I would’ve come out after seven innings.”

After ending the sixth by striking out Magglio Ordonez, Johnson (7-4) pumped his left hand as he walked off the mound after his first strong outing in more than a month.

“There was a huge difference,” Joe Torre said. “Mechanically, he was very comfortable for me to watch”

Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter drove in runs in the third. Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada had RBI in the fifth. Posada caught after missing four games with a hamstring injury.

Jeter injured his right hand and left the game. He jammed the hand in the third inning while sliding into second base, the Yankees said, though Jeter wasn’t sure how he did it. After batting in the fifth, Jeter was taken out for precautionary reasons so his hand could be iced. He expects to play today.

Jeter, who was 0-for-3 and ended a nine-game hitting streak, began the game hitting an AL-best .352.

Johnson left after Carlos Guillen’s leadoff double in the seventh. Reliever Ron Villone retired the next three batters, keeping a run off of Johnson’s line. Villone also pitched the eighth, and Kyle Farnsworth worked a perfect ninth inning.

Jeremy Bonderman (5-4) gave up four runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings. He had won four of his previous five decisions.The Yankees did not have an extrabase hit off Bonderman, but reached and moved runners with grounders through the infield and bloop singles.

Just when it seemed that Johnson was losing his control with a pair of two-out walks in the third, he got Marcus Thames to hit into an inning-ending groundout.In the fourth, Johnson had two strikeouts, then picked up one more in the fifth.

With their fifth win in six games, the Yankees are nine games above .500 for the first time this season.

“When you think of Randy from six or seven years ago, you’re probably expecting 10 or 12 strikeouts as part of this game,” Tiger manager Jim Leyland said.”He doesn’t have the same velocity and he doesn’t have the same slider, but he’s a pitcher now.”

The New York Sun

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