Pitchers can make a statement with a performance in one game. But manager Edwin Rodriguez thinks Josh Johnson took a huge step this year with some clutch pitching in one inning Tuesday night.
In a marquee matchup against Roy Halladay, Johnson gave up a home run to Ryan Howard to start the second inning. Then he gave up a double to Raul Ibanez before hitting Ben Francisco with a pitch and walking Pete Orr to load the bases. The game easily could've gotten out of hand for the Marlins.
But Johnson mixed his four-seam fastball with sliders to strike out Dane Sardinha and Halladay before getting Jimmy Rollins to ground out to end the inning.
That's all the Phillies would get all night. The Marlins went on to win 2-1. Johnson didn't get the decision, but the Marlins wouldn't have won the game without him, Rodriguez said.
"Bases loaded, no outs. That was the game. The way JJ got out of that inning was very impressive," Rodriguez said.
Johnson wasn't as sharp as he has been in other starts, but he gutted out seven innings, throwing 114 pitches.
"After that second inning I knew he was in control of the game," Rodriguez said. "I think all of the baseball world knows who Josh Johnson is. Being out there for seven innings and battling Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies, that put JJ on the next level."
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