Green hit a grand slam off Randy Choate in the eighth inning
Thursday night, powering the Dodgers to a 4-3 win over the Arizona
"It's nice to get the big hit today," said Green, who had a
single in three at-bats against Johnson. "The other guys had to
load the bases to do it. It's nice to start the second half off
like this. You've just got to move forward in this game."
Once again, the Diamondbacks' bullpen wasted a superlative
effort by Johnson, giving up all four runs after The Big Unit was
Johnson, showing little wear from a scoreless inning in the
All-Star Game two days earlier, struck out nine, allowed four hits
and had an RBI single in seven scoreless innings.
He increased his major league-leading strikeout total to 154
while coming up short by one of his 198th double-digit strikeout
But manager Al Pedrique pulled Johnson between innings.
"He threw 108 pitches," Pedrique said. "He pitched two days
ago in the All-Star Game, he give up three hits in Houston. It was
hot, and today was the same way. It was hot today, and we thought
that was enough."
Johnson said he was comfortable with the decision, but added he
felt no after-effects from his 10th All-Star appearance and
suggested this outing may have been his best since throwing a
perfect game against the Atlanta Braves on May 18.
"I felt probably as good tonight as I did in Atlanta," Johnson
Brian Bruney got two outs while allowing hits to Cesar Izturis
and Paul Lo Duca. Then Choate (1-1) walked pinch-hitter Milton
Bradley, and Green followed with his seventh career grand slam, a
410-foot drive into the grandstand behind the swimming pool in
right-center. It was just Green's 11th homer of the season.
His last grand slam was Sept. 8, also in Phoenix off Stephen
Randolph, another lefty.
"It's disappointing," said Choate, who hadn't allowed a homer
in 63 appearances. "A 1-2, hanging slider is just not going to get
it done. It's the wrong time to make a bad pitch."
Gagne's only blown save this season came in a 6-5 Dodgers win
over Arizona in Los Angeles on July 5.
But Arizona, which lost 19 of 23 games before the break, started
the second half with a loss as the Dodgers maintained their NL West
lead with their 12th victory in 15 games.
"Randy Johnson was on his game tonight, there's no getting
around that," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "We had very little
opportunity against him."
Johnson protected a 1-0 lead until the Diamondbacks' two-run
Dodgers starter Jeff Weaver issued a leadoff walk to Shea
Hillenbrand to start the inning in trouble.
Chad Tracy, the next batter, doubled off the fence in
right-center to send Hillenbrand to third, and Weaver loaded the
bases with one out with an intentional walk to Luis Terrero, who
had hit two huge fouls into the grandstand.
That set the stage for Brito's fly to center field, scoring
Hillenbrand, and Johnson followed with a floater into right field,
ending Weaver's outing.
Weaver gave up six hits and three runs in 5 2-3 innings,
striking out six and walking four.
Jayson Werth tripled to lead off the second inning, and crossed
the plate easily on Chin-Feng Chen's fly to center field. But third
base umpire Ron Kulpa ruled that Werth left before the ball was
caught, and an 8-2-5 double play erased the threat.
Arizona took a 1-0 lead in its half when Alex Cintron doubled
with two out and scored on Brito's bloop single to right.
Hillenbrand kept a career-best, 14-game hitting streak
alive with a single in the third. ... The Dodgers ended Arizona's
first inning with a 2-6-3-4 double play when Luis Gonzalez struck
out and Roberto Alomar was caught stealing. ... Choate's last homer
was to Toronto's Vernon Wells on April 11, 2002, when he was with
the New York Yankees.