<
>

Johnson allows three hits in seven innings

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Forced to rely more on guile than raw power,
Randy Johnson still found a way to efficiently dispose of the
Baltimore Orioles and win his fifth straight start.

Johnson limited the Orioles to three hits over seven innings,
and the Arizona Diamondbacks opened their interleague schedule with
an 8-1 victory Tuesday night.

Johnson (8-4) started his five-game run with a perfect game
against Atlanta on May 18. He wasn't as sharp in this one, but
plenty good enough to improve to 5-7 lifetime against Baltimore.

"He did what he had to do to win," Arizona manager Bob Brenly
said. "Tonight he didn't have his good fastball early. He had a
pretty good slider going he was able to throw for strikes, but more
than anything else, he changed speeds.

"There was a day not too long ago that if had gone out there
with a 92 mph fastball and an inconsistent slider early in the
game, he probably wouldn't have lasted very long," Brenly said.
"But he's learned how to get by with less than his best until he
finds it."

Pitching in Baltimore for the first time since 1997, Johnson
allowed one run, struck out four and walked one. After the Orioles
scored their lone run in the fourth inning, the left-hander retired
11 of the final 12 batters he faced.

"I was able to use all my pitches and get ahead in the count
for the most part," Johnson said. "I threw less than 100 pitches
and I got through seven innings, so as a pitcher, who wouldn't want
to do that?"

He had thrown only 89 pitches and was six outs from his 91st
career complete game when Brenly went to the bullpen with the
Diamondbacks up 8-1.

That was fine with the 40-year-old Johnson, who made short work
of the Orioles on a humid night.

"It was hot out there, and being pitch efficient out there is
probably what you'd want rather than to labor out there and throw
120, 125 pitches," he said.

Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli stacked his lineup entirely with
right-handed batters and switch-hitters, but Baltimore got only one
runner past second base in losing for the fifth time in six games.

"It's tough, especially when he's getting his slider over for
strikes. When he's doing that, he's awfully tough to hit," said
Jerry Hairston, who scored the Orioles' only run.

Johnson got all the support he needed when the Diamondbacks got
two runs in the third against Sidney Ponson. Arizona ultimately
chased Ponson (3-7) during a four-run eighth.

Ponson gave up six runs, five earned, and 11 hits over
seven-plus innings in losing his fourth straight start. He's got an
8.17 ERA over that span.

"We knew we weren't going to get a lot of runs off Randy unless
he had a real off night," Hairston said. "Sidney tried his
hardest to keep it close, but they swung the bats well."

Playing for the first time in an organized baseball game with
his little brother on the same field, Hairston went 2-for-3 with a
walk.

His brother, Arizona second baseman Scott Hairston, was 2-for-5
with an RBI and a run scored.

"It was cool, it really was," Jerry Hairston said.

Arizona went up 2-0 in the third when Alex Cintron and Scott
Hairston hit successive doubles before Danny Bautista drove in a
run with a two-out single.

The Diamondbacks added a run in the fourth when Shea Hillenbrand
hit a leadoff double and scored on a two-out single by designated
hitter Carlos Baerga, making only his second start of the season.

A walk to Jerry Hairston, a single by Melvin Mora and a
run-scoring grounder by Miguel Tejada brought Baltimore to 3-1 in
the bottom half, but Arizona restored its three-run cushion in the
fifth when Bautista scored on a throwing error by Mora at third.

Chad Tracy doubled in two runs in the Arizona eighth, and two
more runners came in on wild pitches by rookie Eddy Rodriguez.

Game notes
Arizona has gone four straight games without a homer. ...
Baltimore fell to 5-10 against left-handed starters. ... The
Diamondbacks, who went an NL-best 11-4 in interleague play, began a
stretch in which they will play 15 of 18 games against AL foes.