Randy Johnson earns 301st victory by shutting down A’s
SAN FRANCISCO – Juan Uribe won’t remember this game for his go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning for the surging San Francisco Giants. His best moment Saturday night was a bit more timeless.
The infielder stood among several of the Giants’ greats before the first pitch when he escorted his aunt onto the field for a reunion of San Francisco’s 1989 World Series team – which included Jose Uribe, his late, beloved uncle.
“I felt like I would cry,” said Uribe, whose uncle died in a car accident in December 2006. “I’m just glad we could win.”
Randy Johnson limited Oakland to four hits over seven strong innings to earn his 301st victory, and Uribe drove in the first run of San Francisco’s decisive rally in a 5-2 win over the Athletics.
With two straight wins in the season’s first Bay Bridge Series, the Giants have moved five games above .500 for the first time since 2004. They hadn’t won a series against Oakland at home since 2005, but with solid pitching and a whole lot more potent offense than the punchless A’s, San Francisco is in position for its first three-game sweep of Oakland since 2001.
In his first home start since getting his 300th win, Johnson (6-5) narrowly outpitched A’s rookie left-hander Josh Outman, who retired 14 straight batters before Bengie Molina’s leadoff double in the seventh.
Molina also hit an early two-run homer for the Giants, while Emmanuel Burriss and pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz drove in runs against Oakland’s relievers during the decisive rally in the seventh. Brian Wilson pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 20 chances.
Johnson won his 300th game in Washington on June 4, but each of the 45-year-old Big Unit’s other five victories this season were picked up in his native Bay Area. He managed just three strikeouts, boosting his career total to 4,853, but repeatedly escaped trouble while persevering into the seventh.
“I’m at a different point in my career now when 91 pitches in seven innings is pretty good,” said Johnson, who lamented his subpar slider. “I don’t care much about strikeouts at this point. I care about being around late in the game. … I thought I let one slip away, being spotted two runs and with their guy pitching well. But you battle, and you go out there every inning to give your offense a chance to score.”
Kurt Suzuki homered for the A’s, who had won seven straight at San Francisco’s waterfront ballpark until this series. Oakland is 1-4 since its seven-game winning streak ended Tuesday.
Outman (4-1), who left with two runners on base in the seventh after his teammates made a fielding blunder, allowed five hits and four runs. His teammates regretted another terrible offensive performance, but Outman wished they would have helped him out a bit defensively in the seventh.
“I’m going to lose games eventually, but that was absolutely the worst way to lose a game,” Outman said. “I didn’t get to give up my own runs, and I gave up an extra run on a ball that should have been caught. It’s just frustrating. Those things are going to happen. It just seemed like the wind was holding everything up.”
Indeed, Outman was cruising until Molina cracked a double down the left field line leading off the seventh. Pinch-runner Fred Lewis then moved to third when right fielder Jack Cust and first baseman Bobby Crosby nearly collided while chasing Pablo Sandoval’s popup, with Crosby appearing to get in his teammate’s right-of-way.
“I didn’t expect him to be there,” said Cust, who acknowledged he didn’t call for the ball. “(Crosby) was coming straight out, and I was coming straight in. I didn’t know if I could get to it, so by the time I got to it, I felt him coming.”
Uribe then hit reliever Michael Wuertz’s first pitch into right, scoring Lewis.
NOTES: The A’s scratched 1B Jason Giambi about 90 minutes before the first pitch with tightness in his right calf, but he made Oakland’s final out as a pinch-hitter. … Suzuki returned after missing Friday’s game with a sore left knee. … Torres played left field again for the Giants to give Lewis another day off. Lewis is in a 1 for 19 slump. … Oakland, which swept San Francisco in that earthquake-interrupted World Series in 1989, will hold a similar reunion next weekend.
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