On Tuesday night, he showed his former teammate what he learned.
Bobby Higginson had two hits, including a two-run homer in the fifth inning, for the Tigers.
Johnson pitched eight dominant innings and Rondell White and
Bobby Higginson hit two-run homers to help the Detroit Tigers beat
the New York Yankees 9-1, ending their five-game losing streak."I knew that I would have to be on my 'A' game to beat him,"
Johnson said of his teammate for the 1999 and 2000 seasons, his
second and third full seasons in the majors.And he was, working all his pitches and keeping the Yankees
off-balance with a long, loping motion. Johnson (6-7) retired his
first 12 batters and was even left to sit alone at the end of the
Tigers bench after the fourth -- a superstition when pitchers are
working on a no-hitter or perfect game.He lost his bid for perfection and his first big league shutout
in the fifth. Alex Rodriguez led off with a sharp single to center,
Jason Giambi followed with an infield hit to shortstop and Jorge
Posada lined an opposite field run-scoring single to left to make
it 2-1 with no outs. But Johnson retired the next three batters to
get out of the inning."My mind-set was damage control," said Johnson, who signed
with Detroit in the offseason. "When I was able to hold them to
one run, that was the turning point. Our hitters started to get
going."A night after Esteban Yan was ejected for throwing over the head
of Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, All-Star catcher Ivan
Rodriguez was hit in the elbow by reliever Tanyon Sturtze with two
outs in the ninth inning. In the bottom half, Tigers closer Ugueth
Urbina threw behind Gary Sheffield and both benches were warned."After yesterday, we knew this could happen," said Ivan
Rodriguez, who was wearing a large bandage on his left elbow. "The
only thing I know is he threw the ball right at me. I didn't have a
chance to get out of the way."Sturtze insisted that he was just throwing inside and that he
didn't intend to hit Rodriguez."It was a fastball in, it wasn't on purpose," Sturtze said.
"I was just hoping he was OK."Rodriguez said he will play Wednesday, even if he's sore.Dmitri Young had three doubles, two RBI and two runs scored,
Carlos Guillen had a two-run single, and White added an RBI single
against his former team as the Tigers rebounded from a 10-3 loss to
New York on Monday with their first win at Yankee Stadium since
Sept. 7, 2002."It's been a rough go," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said.
"We just came from Coors Canaveral (Colorado) and got beat last
night. We needed this win."New York lost for the fourth time in five games since completing
a three-game sweep against the Boston Red Sox.Johnson pitched into the eighth inning for the sixth time in
seven starts, improving to 3-1 in that stretch. But his ERA fell
below 5.00 for the first time this season on June 25. He allowed
six hits and a run without walking a batter. He struck out four."He managed to shut us down, totally," Yankees manager Joe
Torre said. "When he has command and control his delivery is such
that your timing may be affected."Mussina (9-6), working on three days' rest in order to get in
two starts before the All-Star break, struck out the first four
batters he faced and breezed through the first four innings.But he tired in the fifth and the Tigers teed off on him over
his final two innings. He gave up a single to Guillen leading off
and a two-run homer to Higginson on an 0-2 pitch one out later to
open the scoring.In the sixth, Detroit batted around, amassing six hits. Young
had an RBI double, Guillen slapped a two-run hit through a drawn-in
infield and White hit a long two-run homer to left to make it 7-1.Overall, Mussina gave up seven runs on nine hits and a walk
while striking out eight in his fourth straight poor outing since
leaving his start on June 11 with tightness in his groin. He was
hit hard by the Mets on Saturday, allowing seven runs -- five earned
and nine hits in five innings."That was as good as I've thrown the ball in four or five
starts," Mussina said. "It's the best stuff I had since I got
hurt."White had an RBI single in the eighth and Young added a
run-scoring double in the ninth off Sturtze.
After batting .500 (43-for-86) in June, Ivan Rodriguez is
hitting just .217 (5-for-23) in July. ... The Tigers (38-44) were
20-61 at the midpoint last season.