D-Backs notebook: Johnson tosses 2-hit gem in season finale - East Valley Tribune: Sports

D-Backs notebook: Johnson tosses 2-hit gem in season finale

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Posted: Sunday, September 28, 2008 10:53 pm | Updated: 11:48 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

If Sunday was Randy Johnson’s final appearance for the Diamondbacks, he went out with the type of dominant performance that kindled memories of Cy Young Awards and World Series titles.

D-Backs content with roster logjam going into '09

Johnson gave up two singles and an unearned run in a 2-1 victory over Colorado at Chase Field for his 295th career victory, with Chris Young tying the score with a home run in the eighth inning and forcing in the winner with a bases-loaded walk in the ninth.

“The look in his eye, the intensity,” manager Bob Melvin said of Johnson. “A lot was similar to when he was winning Cy Youngs and winning 20-plus games.”

Johnson, who won four Cy Youngs with the D-Backs from 1999-2002, gave up one hard-hit ball, a single up the middle by Troy Tulowitzki in the sixth inning.

Tulowitzki also had the Rockies’ other hit, a nubber toward the mound in the third inning that Johnson attempted to field with his bare hand but could not handle. The Rockies scored in the first on a two-base throwing error by Mark Reynolds, a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch.

A free agent who might not fit into the D-Backs’ 2009 budget, Johnson was asked if he thought about the possibility of this being his final home game here.

“Absolutely,” he said, although he deferred all other talk about his future.

“I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight.”

Johnson, 45, finished 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA and received standing ovations when he left the field after the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

He tipped his hat and waved it to the crowd after leaving in the ninth. As the boisterous ovation grew, with chants of “Ran-dy, Ran-dy,” Johnson came out of the dugout for a curtain call, waving his hat to all corners of Chase Field and smiling.

“Pretty heartwarming,” Johnson said. “The fans here have been very supportive. I appreciate that. I’m glad I was able to do something extra for the fans. I really feel like things kind of came together for me — from a personal perspective — here.”

Johnson, who arrived in Arizona in 1999, won 118 games in eight seasons with the D-Backs, including a franchise-record 24 in 2002.

His ERA with the D-Backs is 2.83, and he has 2,097 strikeouts in 1,630 1/3 innings, an average of 11.58 per nine innings.

Johnson had his perfect game with the D-Backs in 2004 and recorded his 3,000th and 4,000th strikeouts here.

He got victory No. 295 on his eighth try Sunday, despite six quality starts in that stretch, and threw 112 pitches.

Asked if the wait seemed long, he said, “Maybe about three or four months.”

“I couldn’t ask for anything more, to go nine innings and have things turn out the way they did,” Johnson said.

When talking to Melvin the other day, Johnson said “you can throw the pitch count out.”

“I knew then and there that it was more than another game for him,” Melvin said.

SHORT HOPS

The D-Backs drew 2,474,038 fans this season, their highest total since 2004. They drew about 149,000 more than last season, with sales of season tickets and season-ticket equivalents at about 16,000. “I’m pleased,” team president Derrick Hall said. “It’s a pretty good indicator that the fans like the product on the field and like the way they are treated at the ballpark.” Hall said the goal is 20,000 season tickets and season-ticket equivalents in 2009. …

With two strikeouts and an error, Mark Reynolds became the second player to lead the major leagues in strikeouts and errors in the same season. Reynolds had 204 strikeouts and 35 errors, although he also led the D-Backs with 28 home runs and 97 RBIs. Cubs shortstop Roy Smalley struck out 114 times and had 51 errors in 1950. …

Stephen Drew was voted the D-Backs’ most valuable player by the Arizona chapter of the Baseball Writers of America. Brandon Webb was named the most valuable pitcher and Max Scherzer the rookie of the year. Conor Jackson received the Luis Gonzalez “good guy” Award as the player who most fosters a positive relationship with the media.

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