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Johnson unbeaten in past 16 starts vs. Brewers

4/7/2002

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Randy Johnson was so chilled in his Miller Park debut that he felt as if he was throwing outdoors at old County Stadium again.

"This is a great ballpark, don't get me wrong," Johnson said
after striking out 12 in seven innings and leading the Arizona
Diamondbacks to a 6-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday
night.

"I just don't know who's paying for the heating bill. If we come here again, I'll chip in a little bit," Johnson said. "For a domed stadium, you'd think it would be a little warmer."

The game-time temperature was announced at 36 degrees outside and 59 under the closed roof, although it was much colder than that on the field.

Scott Jenkins, the Brewers' vice president of stadium operations, said the trouble is the tons of frigid concrete under the field are still below 40 degrees because of Milwaukee's unusually cold spring.

He said the seating bowl is heated but warm air can't be blown onto the field. Plus, the heat escapes through the roof, constantly being displaced by cold air seeping in through the gates and outfield panels and creating a constant cold airflow.

"There's not a lot of difference inside and outside here," Johnson said with a shrug.

While Johnson has had enough of the bone-chilling Wisconsin winds, the Brewers are getting tired of seeing Johnson -- he beat them for the 13th straight time.

Johnson (2-0), who is undefeated in his last 16 starts against
Milwaukee, allowed one run, five hits and three walks. He improved
to 16-4 against the Brewers, who last beat him on Aug. 5, 1992.

Johnson, who threw a six-hitter and struck out eight in a 2-0 opening day victory over San Diego, struck out six of the first nine hitters he faced. He struck out the side in the second and seventh innings.

Johnson finished with double digits in strikeouts for the 172nd time in his career, second all-time to Nolan Ryan's 215.

"It's pretty much what you've come to expect," Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said. "He never ceases to amaze me. His location, his velocity, the way he goes about setting up his pitches, this guy just gets better and better every time he goes out there and tonight was no exception."

The Big Unit's only costly mistake was a homer by Jeffrey
Hammonds in the first.

Brewers right-hander Nick Neugebauer (0-1) gave up three runs
and three hits in five innings in his third major league start and
first since offseason shoulder surgery.

Steve Finley sent a 3-0 pitch 430 feet away for a two-run homer
in the fourth, and Tony Womack added a solo shot in the fifth for a
3-1 Diamondbacks lead.

"Considering he didn't have much of a spring and he's pitching against one of the best pitchers in the game, I think he handled himself exceptionally well," Brewers manager Davey Lopes said.

Said Brenly of Neugebauer: "He got some pretty funny-looking swings from some good big league hitters."

Johnson, who topped 100 mph once and was consistently in the
high 90s, worked out of trouble in the fourth and fifth innings.

Hammonds led off the fourth with a double and took third on a
wild pitch, but he was caught in a rundown when he broke for home
on Alex Ochoa's bouncer to third with Craig Counsell playing in.

With the bases loaded in the fifth, Ronnie Belliard swung at
Johnson's first pitch even though the previous two hitters had
worked the count to 3-1 and 3-2, respectively, and he bounced to
shortstop for an inning-ending double play.

Lopes didn't begrudge Belliard for swinging away.

"Shoot, you can't take pitches against Randy Johnson, man. He's
coming right after you with fastballs and hard sliders," Lopes
said. "No, I don't have any problem with him swinging at the first
pitch, not at all. You can't let him get ahead you. If he gets
ahead of you, you're 0-and-1, you're in trouble."

Game notes
Japanese RHP Takahito Nomura gave up run-scoring doubles to
Counsell and Junior Spivey in the seventh along with a sacrifice
fly to Johnson. ... Belliard and Hammonds scored on wild pitches by
Bret Prinz in the eighth, cutting the Brewers' deficit to 6-3
before Byung-Hyun Kim threw the ninth for his first save. ...
Neugebauer's 2001 season was cut short after just six innings. He
pitched just one inning in his second start before coming out with
a sore shoulder that needed surgery Sept. 19. ... Brewers OF Alex
Sanchez got a bloody nose when he was hit by a one-hopper off the
bat of C Paul Bako during batting practice. "I'm OK," Sanchez
said as he held an ice pack to his nose. ... Nelson Figueroa,
signed off waivers from the Phillies on Wednesday, threw two
hitless innings in his Brewers debut.