Padres ruin Johnson's second start of '08, snap four-game skid

PHOENIX (AP) -- Justin Huber connected for his first career home run off Randy Johnson, helping the San Diego Padres beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-4 on Sunday and snap a four-game losing streak.

That's probably bigger news in San Diego than in Huber's native Australia.

"I don't really see myself telling stories about it in 10 years' time, 20 years' time or something, because nobody in Australia knows who Randy Johnson is," Huber said with a chuckle. "They'll be like, 'Yeah, well, good one.' So I just enjoy the moment while it lasts here."

Huber arrived at Chase Field before 10 a.m. Sunday. He hadn't faced the Big Unit before and wanted to look at some film.

He decided to lay off Johnson's slider and look for a fastball. His preparation paid off in the sixth inning, with the Padres leading 2-1 and runners at first and second.

After Huber fell behind 1-2, Johnson delivered a fastball and Huber lined it into the left field seats.

"I didn't want to mess with the slider too much," Huber said.

With Johnson on the mound, San Diego manager Bud Black stocked his lineup with righties and switch-hitters. That's why Huber, a rookie who had spent parts of the last three seasons with Kansas City, started in left field instead of Paul McAnulty.

"Luck of the draw," Black said.

The Padres had mustered a total of six runs in their previous four games, all losses. They scored that many against Johnson, who made his second start since back surgery last year.

Huber supplied the big blow, a three-run homer in the sixth inning.

The 44-year-old Johnson had showed flashes of his former dominance. Beginning in the third inning, he retired nine straight batters, striking out four of them.

Trouble came with the score tied 1-1 in the sixth, as Johnson's pitch count crept into the 80s. With one out, Kevin Kouzmanoff doubled and scored on shortstop Chris Burke's fielding error. After Khalil Greene singled, Huber homered to put the Padres ahead 5-1.

Callix Crabbe followed with a sharp double down the left field line and scored on Scott Hairston's single, which gave San Diego a 6-1 lead and ended Johnson's outing.

"I thought everything was going well," said Johnson, who threw 104 pitches, 62 for strikes. "I just made some bad, untimely pitches and they put something together."

Johnson (0-1) gave up six runs, four of them earned, and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six.

"Things are getting better," Johnson said. "Everything is under the microscope now. This isn't spring training any more. You go out there in a tight ballgame and make some mistakes, it can cost you."

Arizona manager Bob Melvin said he probably should have lifted Johnson one batter earlier.

"I think he's still progressing," Melvin said. "Mechanically, he's not where he wants to be yet. Still feeling his way out there."

The Diamondbacks chased Padres starter Randy Wolf (2-0) with three runs in the seventh on RBI doubles by Mark Reynolds and Robby Hammock and an RBI groundout by Augie Ojeda.

Wolf allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking one.

"I kept the team in the game early, but I think the story for today is definitely our hitters," said Wolf, who is scheduled to face the Diamondbacks again on Friday in San Diego.

Wolf gave way to Cla Meredith, who got two outs in the seventh. Heath Bell pitched a scoreless eighth and Glendon Rusch worked the ninth.

San Diego added two runs in the eighth against reliever Doug Slaten and another in the ninth off Tony Pena. Greene had doubles in both innings, finishing 3-for-5 with an RBI after entering the game hitting just .224.

Conor Jackson had three hits for Arizona, which snapped a four-game win streak. He went 8-for-14 with a double, two triples, a homer and four RBIs in the three-game series.

Wolf said he'll take a different approach to the streaking Jackson in his next start. "On Friday, I'm going to throw Conor underhand, because everything else he hits," Wolf said.

Game notes
Arizona CF Chris Young was scratched from the lineup an hour before gametime with flulike symptoms. Alex Romero made his first major league start in Young's place. ... Arizona had a season-high three errors. ... RHP Justin Germano starts for the Padres on Monday night in Houston. He's looking for his first victory despite allowing only three earned runs in his first three starts for a 1.35 ERA. ... The Diamondbacks entered play with a .281 batting average and 2.80 ERA, both best in the NL. ... Johnson remains 16 victories shy of 300.