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Johnson fans seven in five innings before Giants get to D-Backs bullpen

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Randy Johnson had a hard time finding the strike zone in his season debut, eight months after back surgery.

Still, the San Francisco Giants didn't get many good swings against him.

The Big Unit did not allow an earned run in five innings, settling down to finish with seven strikeouts and four walks before San Francisco rallied against Arizona's bullpen for a 5-4 victory against the Diamondbacks on Monday night.

"I've got a lot of room for improvement, but considering the situation I know that things will get a lot better," Johnson said. "I felt like I was kind of battling out there and finding myself behind in the count. Obviously with the outcome, it's kind of disappointing. I felt like if the game's pitched a little bit better by myself early in the game the outcome probably isn't what it is."

The Giants loaded the bases in the seventh with no outs against reliever Chad Qualls (0-1), who allowed Ray Durham's tying RBI groundout followed by Bengie Molina's go-ahead sacrifice fly.

Keiichi Yabu (1-1), who had dental surgery earlier in the day, worked two scoreless innings for his first victory in nearly three years. He beat the Giants on May 20, 2005, with the Oakland Athletics. Yabu's victory also was the first by a Japanese pitcher for the Giants since Masanori Murakami on Sept. 30, 1965.

"I'm honored," Yabu said through a translator. "He is one of my friends and I'm glad I could win and have the same status."

Conor Jackson drove in three runs for the Diamondbacks, who saw their eight-game winning streak snapped Sunday against Colorado and lost back-to-back games for only the second time this season.

Johnson walked slowly to the mound, head down and already holding a 2-0 lead after Jackson's two-run home run in the first. He was one of only a few players to wear short sleeves on a blustery Bay Area night, when the first-pitch temperature was 52 degrees.

Jackson also added an RBI double in the third and Justin Upton had a run-scoring single that inning.

Arizona got a scare in the bottom of the eighth when third baseman Mark Reynolds fell over the railing of a photo well while trying to catch Eugenio Velez's foul ball and banged his shin on a lower rail. His teammates ran to him and called for the trainer. Reynolds was slow getting up but stayed in the game.

Brian Wilson finished for his fourth save in five chances.

"It's definitely a big win. It's a building block for us," San Francisco's Aaron Rowand said. "We were down, we were up, we were down, we were up and we held onto it."

Johnson, who has 284 victories, gave up three hits and three unearned runs. It took him five pitches to throw his first strike after a four-pitch leadoff walk to Randy Winn. He struck out Rowand on an 83 mph slider, then gave up another four-pitch walk to Durham before retiring Rich Aurilia on a called third strike. Johnson got out of the inning on 18 pitches, eight for strikes.

"When I was in a situation to be able to put a hitter away, I was able to do that," Johnson said. "The first couple innings, the problem was finding myself in that situation. I was always pitching behind in the count, and that's typically not what I do."

The Giants tied it on Winn's two-run bloop single with two outs in the second, then Rowand followed with an RBI double to left and Johnson received a mound visit from pitching coach Bryan Price -- Johnson's pitch count already at 43.

He had not pitched in the big leagues since a 9-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers last June 28, before his August operation.

The 44-year-old left-hander topped out at 93 mph with his fastball. Arizona manager Bob Melvin said beforehand he didn't have a pitch count for Johnson, who went 4-3 with a 3.81 ERA last season. He finished at 90 pitches with 49 strikes.

"All things considered, he got better as he went along. He was frustrated early with his command," Melvin said. "The mound was an issue. It was a joke. It was too high and the slopes were all wrong. Both teams pitched off the same mound and both teams complained about it. Even at the end he was throwing as hard as he was in the first inning. He never lost his velocity."

Johnson underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk each of the past two seasons. Last year, he had only 3½ months to recover before spring training and believes he rushed back too soon. He also had back surgery in 1996.

San Francisco starter Jonathan Sanchez allowed four runs -- three earned -- and six hits in five innings.

Notes

  • Arizona's Eric Byrnes has a 10-game hitting streak.
  • To clear roster room for Johnson, Arizona optioned RHP Jailen Peguero to Triple-A Tucson.
  • Rowand did some early agility drills to test his tender right groin, then returned to the starting lineup in CF after sitting out most of the past three games.
  • San Francisco planned to activate RHP Vinnie Chulk (strained throwing shoulder) from the disabled list Tuesday.
  • The Elias Sports Bureau confirmed that John Bowker became the first Giant in franchise history -- not only the San Francisco era -- to hit a home run in each of his first two games. He did so Saturday and Sunday against St. Louis.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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In his up-and-down 2008 debut, Randy Johnson allows three hits and four walks in five innings.  (US Presswire)
In his up-and-down 2008 debut, Randy Johnson allows three hits and four walks in five innings. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
San Francisco

R. Winn
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Arizona

C. Jackson
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Arizona Diamondbacks
Chris Young, CF4000113 .208
Eric Byrnes, LF5010001 .291
Orlando Hudson, 2B4220001 .280
Conor Jackson, 1B4223001 .313
Mark Reynolds, 3B3000122 .280
Justin Upton, RF4011011 .388
Stephen Drew, SS3000101 .295
Robby Hammock, C2010100 .250
   a- Augie Ojeda, PH1000000 .500
Randy Johnson, P1000010 .000
   b- Alex Romero, PH1000002 .400
    Juan Cruz, P0000000 .000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
    Doug Slaten, P0000000 .000
    Brandon Medders, P0000000 .000
   c- Jeff Salazar, PH1000010 .364
Totals3347446  
a-grounded out for Hammock in the 9th
b-popped out for R. Johnson in the 6th
c-struck out for Medders in the 9th
Batting
2B - Orlando Hudson (4, Sanchez)
HR - Conor Jackson (1, Sanchez)
SH - Randy Johnson (1)
RBI - Conor Jackson 3 (10), Justin Upton (12)
2-OUT RBI - Conor Jackson 2 (6), Justin Upton (2)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Hudson-Drew
E - Stephen Drew (1, Misplayed grounder), Mark Reynolds (4, Misplayed grounder)
Arizona Diamondbacks
Randy Johnson 5330470 0.00
Juan Cruz (H,3) 1100020 2.70
Chad Qualls (L,0-1) 1.1120110 0.00
Doug Slaten0100000 5.40
Brandon Medders 0.2000100 2.84
WP - Brandon Medders (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Johnson 90-49, Juan Cruz 22-14, Chad Qualls 25-17, Doug Slaten 6-3, Brandon Medders 14-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Johnson 3-5, Chad Qualls 3-1, Brandon Medders 1-0
Batters Faced - Randy Johnson 22, Juan Cruz 4, Chad Qualls 7, Doug Slaten 1, Brandon Medders 2
San Francisco Giants
Randy Winn, RF3212100 .261
Aaron Rowand, CF3021111 .303
Ray Durham, 2B3001111 .212
    Tyler Walker, P0000000 .000
    Brian Wilson, P0000000 .000
Bengie Molina, C3001001 .280
Rich Aurilia, 1B4000023 .209
Jose Castillo, 3B3110100 .275
Daniel Ortmeier, LF1100111 .200
   a- Fred Lewis, PH-LF2010010 .343
Brian Bocock, SS3000133 .186
Jonathan Sanchez, P1000010 .000
    Keiichi Yabu, P0000000 .000
   b- Eugenio Velez, PH-2B2110001 .225
Totals28565610  
a-struck out for Ortmeier in the 6th
b-singled for Yabu in the 7th
Batting
2B - Aaron Rowand 2 (4, R. Johnson, R. Johnson)
SF - Bengie Molina (1)
SH - Jonathan Sanchez (1)
RBI - Randy Winn 2 (5), Aaron Rowand (3), Ray Durham (3), Bengie Molina (10)
2-OUT RBI - Randy Winn 2 (2), Aaron Rowand (1)
SB - Randy Winn 2 (3, 2nd base off R. Johnson/Hammock, 2nd base off R. Johnson/Hammock), Jose Castillo (1, 2nd base off Cruz/Hammock), Brian Bocock (4, 2nd base off Medders/Hammock)
CS - Fred Lewis (1, 2nd base by Medders/Hammock)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Aaron Rowand (2, Misplayed grounder)
San Francisco Giants
Jonathan Sanchez 5643231 6.00
Keiichi Yabu (W,1-1) 2100110 3.86
Tyler Walker (H,4) 1000010 4.05
Brian Wilson (S,4) 1000110 4.26
Pitches-Strikes - Jonathan Sanchez 99-56, Keiichi Yabu 29-16, Tyler Walker 9-7, Brian Wilson 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jonathan Sanchez 6-6, Keiichi Yabu 1-4, Tyler Walker 1-1, Brian Wilson 1-1
Batters Faced - Jonathan Sanchez 23, Keiichi Yabu 8, Tyler Walker 3, Brian Wilson 4
Game Information
Attendance - 30371
Game Time - 3:22
Temperature - 52
Umpires - Home - Rick Reed, First Base - Jeff Kellogg, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Chad Fairchild