NEW YORK -- Randy Johnson wasn't sure how he was going to pitch in his first start in a week.
The rested Big Unit ended up surprising himself.
Johnson (9-6) allowed four hits, struck out a season-high nine and didn't walk a batter. He was pitching on six days' rest after serving a five-game suspension for throwing at Cleveland's Eduardo Perez on June 14.
"Being under house arrest for it seemed like forever, it was nice to get back out there and pitch," Johnson said, "but to be honest with you, pleasantly surprised to be in command as much as I was with all my pitches."
The left-hander then struck out Andruw Jones to get out of the inning. Johnson recorded seven strikeouts in his last three innings. It was his first start against the Braves since he threw a perfect game for Arizona in a 2-0 win at Atlanta on May 18, 2004.
"I know he had a lot of rest between starts," Braves manager Bobby Cox said of Johnson. "It looked like it. When his slider is right, you can't hit it -- you just can't hit it."
Johnson retired eight in a row before Matt Diaz reached on an error by third baseman Alex Rodriguez with one out in the fifth. The Big Unit then struck out Wilson Betemit and Adam LaRoche to get out of the inning.
Johnson said he felt good throwing his fastball, slider and split-fingered fastball after he loosened up.
"I got ahead in the count and got them to chase pitches because of the command with the three pitches that I had today," Johnson said. "It was all pretty surprising to be able to throw all three pitches for strikes, especially late in the game when I haven't pitched in a week."
After a rough stretch earlier this season, Johnson has gone at least six innings in five of his last six starts. He has allowed four runs in his last 20 1/3 innings.
"He just seems very comfortable right now," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "... He seems to be able to do what he wants to do. I'm not talking about getting people out, I'm just talking about making pitches."
Mariano Rivera got the last two outs for his 17th save in 19 chances.
New York scored five runs in the first two innings against Tim Hudson (6-7), who lost his third consecutive start and dropped to 1-4 in June.
Jeter singled with two outs in the first and Giambi followed with a drive to right off his former Oakland teammate. The Yankees loaded the bases after Giambi's 21st homer but Hudson got Bubba Crosby to line out to end the inning.
Giambi hit a three-run homer on a full-count pitch from Hudson with two outs in the second to make it 5-0.
"He was a great teammate but it's always fun taking at-bats against him because he's so good," said Giambi, who played with Hudson for three seasons with the Athletics. "He definitely makes you think up there so luckily I got two pitches that he kind of left up in the strike zone."
Hudson shut out the Yankees over the next three innings. He allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out one. He has given up 14 runs in his last 19 innings.
"Both pitches were changeups that were down but they came over the plate a little more than I wanted them to," Hudson said of Giambi's two homers. "In another park, I don't know if they're homers but here they are."
Chipper Jones hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning and went 3-for-4 for Atlanta. Kevin Barry also threw three scoreless innings in his major league debut.
- Cox was ejected by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt after Rivera struck out Diaz looking on a full-count pitch with one out in the ninth. It was his sixth ejection of the season.
- Yankees 2B Robinson Cano felt better Monday after leaving the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader against the Marlins on Sunday with a strained left hamstring. General manager Brian Cashman said Cano was walking normal before the game but feels tight. He said they would monitor him over the next day or so before deciding whether to place him on the disabled list.
- Atlanta LHP Chuck James' first major league win against Tampa Bay on Sunday looked even better a day later. Damon Hollins' pop-fly double that glanced off the glove of shortstop Betemit was changed to an error, giving Betemit two errors on the play. The change took a hit and an earned run off James' line. He allowed two hits and one unearned run in eight innings against the Devil Rays.