Randy Winn’s homer lifts Giants to fifth straight triumph
April 26, 2009
PHOENIX ” Randy Johnson fizzled in his return to the desert, and was rescued by Randy Winn.
Winn hit a two-run homer to lead the San Francisco Giants to a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night. Edgar Renteria added a two-run double and Emmanuel Burriss singled home a run for the Giants, who have won five straight.
“When the starting pitcher struggles, you’ve got to pick him up,” said Winn, who has two of San Francisco’s league-low 10 home runs. “The starting pitching’s been picking up the offense for quite a while, so it’s nice to return the favor.”
Six days after beating the Diamondbacks for his 296th career win, the Big Unit walked seven and was gone after 3 1-3 innings.
Justin Miller (1-0) relieved Johnson and was credited with the win despite giving up a run in 1 2-3 innings. Four other relievers shut out the Diamondbacks over the last four innings, including Brian Wilson, who pitched the ninth for his third save in as many chances ” all of them against Arizona.
Johnson pitched as a visitor for the first time on the field where he came out of the bullpen to earn the victory in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.
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As Johnson warmed up in the bullpen before the game, fans leaned over and snapped pictures. Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” played as Johnson took the mound to warm up in the first, and he drew a mix of cheers and boos from the Chase Field crowd of 37,253.
Johnson is staying at his Paradise Valley home during the Giants’ visit.
“I think everything went pretty well except me showing up me showing to the ballpark today,” Johnson said with a chuckle.
Johnson won four of his five Cy Young Awards with Arizona. But the 45-year-old left-hander’s glory days seemed a long way off.
The seven walks were Johnson’s most since July 25, 2000. The Diamondbacks didn’t make him pay until the fourth, when Justin Upton hit a 1-0 delivery into the left-field seats to give Arizona a 2-0 lead after Johnson issued a leadoff walk to Chris Young.
“I’ve played this game long enough that I’ve had a lot of bad games,” Johnson said. “I didn’t get hit hard, but I definitely put myself and the team in a bind by constantly having baserunners on base.”
Johnson threw 81 pitches ” only 42 for strikes ” and failed to make it through four innings for the second time in four starts. He allowed two runs and three hits, and struck out two.
“He was fighting himself from the first pitch of the game,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “But you know what? He held them to two there. Kept us in the game.”
Arizona starter Max Scherzer (0-2) didn’t last much longer than Johnson. He was gone two outs into the fifth after yielding a two-run homer to Winn, who curled his shot around the left-field foul pole and into the Diamondbacks bullpen after Renteria’s big double.
Scherzer had retired 11 of 12 hitters before running into trouble in the fifth.
“He was pitching well and all of a sudden hit a wall,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “They made him throw a lot of pitches that inning, ended up with a home run by Winn.”
Notes:@ Arizona SS Stephen Drew was out with a left hamstring injury, and Melvin said the club would put him on the disabled list on Sunday. Drew is hitting .205 with one hit in his last 16 at-bats. … The Diamondbacks have played 17 games and have yet to win two in a row. … Johnson is the first 45-year-old pitcher in Giants history and their oldest player since 1909, when Arlie Latham played four games for the New York Giants at age 49.