Giants’ Johnson wins No. 302
AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Randy Johnson is rejuvenated with the San Francisco Giants.
He follows reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum in the rotation, then sees nine-game winner Matt Cain pitch after him.
“I can’t say I feel any younger watching them pitch,” Johnson said. “I’m enjoying this year as much as any year I’ve ever enjoyed because I’m making my pitches.”
Johnson earned career victory No. 302 and matched his season high with seven innings, Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run homer to help the cause and San Francisco beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 in the 2009 Bay Bridge Series finale Wednesday night.
Aaron Rowand added an RBI double and the Giants captured the season series with the A’s for the first time since 2001 with their second straight winning road series.
Johnson (7-5) followed Lincecum’s seven-hitter a night earlier with another strong showing. The 45-year-old Big Unit, who beat Oakland on June 13 for his 301st win, allowed one run on six hits, struck out six and walked one in seven innings.
“I’m 45 years old and I’m going out and getting double-play balls and I went seven innings today,” he said. “That’s a lot of innings for me. But I’m here to pitch on the day I’m here and I’m sure I’ll have a couple of bad games before the year is over. In the meantime you want to keep things rolling too.”
After Jack Cust’s single in the third, Johnson didn’t allow another hit until Orlando Cabrera singled in the sixth.
Kurt Suzuki hit a solo home run off San Francisco reliever Sergio Romo to go with an early RBI single for the A’s, who lost five of six to the Giants this year.
“We’ve struggled against left-handed pitchers this whole first half and tonight was no different,” A’s manager Bruce Bochy said. “Johnson wasn’t dominating like he can but he threw the ball well and recorded a lot of outs.”
Giants closer Brian Wilson entered with two outs in the ninth following pinch-hitter Nomar Garciaparra’s RBI double off Bob Howry. Wilson then struck out Adam Kennedy for his 20th save in 23 opportunities.
Oakland’s Gio Gonzalez (0-1) struggled to locate his pitches from the outset in his first start of the year, allowing 10 hits and four earned runs while throwing 83 pitches in just 3 2-3 innings. The left-hander was called up from Triple-A Sacramento to pitch in place of injured rookie Josh Outman, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left elbow.
Gonzalez loaded the bases in the fourth, then allowed a run-scoring single by Andres Torres, Pablo Sandoval’s RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly to Edgar Renteria. And that was it as he gave way to Edgar Gonzalez.
Johnson dug himself an early hole when Kennedy led off the first with a triple and scored on Suzuki’s single moments later. Johnson still struck out the side in the inning.
Then the Giants’ offense did its part.
Schierholtz connected for his second homer of the year – his first was an inside-the-park version versus the A’s on June 14 – Matt Downs followed with a single and Rowand doubled him home.
That had to be encouraging for manager Bruce Bochy, who had watched his club go 3-for-33 with runners in scoring position in the previous four games.
“It wasn’t pretty at times, but it worked,” Bochy said. “Left-handers have been tough on us. It was good to see us put runs on the board against left-handers.”
The Giants now head out of town to Milwaukee and St. Louis to continue this 11-day, 10-game road trip that began with an easy commute across San Francisco Bay.
Juan Uribe singled in the seventh after returning to San Francisco’s lineup for the first time since hurting his left hamstring June 13.
The Giants took the season series with the A’s for only the second time. San Francisco went 4-2 in the rivalry in 2001.
NOTES: Johnson’s 19 interleague wins tie him with six others for the second most all time. … San Francisco OF Randy Winn is essentially getting three days off to let his tired body recover. He was the DH on Tuesday night, rested Wednesday and the team has an off day Thursday. … Bochy hasn’t named a starter for Sunday’s game with the Brewers. The team is considering skipping LHP Jonathan Sanchez’s turn along with giving Lincecum an extra day.