Johnson, defense enough as D-Backs beat Cubs - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Johnson, defense enough as D-Backs beat Cubs

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Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008 9:27 pm | Updated: 9:52 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Randy Johnson earned his first win against the Cubs when Alex Romero was four years old.

Slideshow: D-Backs vs. Cubs

Randy Johnson earned his first win against the Cubs when Alex Romero was four years old.

Slideshow: D-Backs vs. Cubs

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Twenty years later, Johnson couldn’t have improved to 13-0 lifetime against Chicago without the help of his rookie right fielder.

Romero hit his first career home run in the sixth inning, the only hit of the night off Rich Harden, as the Diamondbacks downed the Cubs 2-0 in front of 34,627 fans at Chase Field on Monday night.

Johnson (7-7) gave up no runs and two hits in seven innings and lowered his career ERA against Chicago to 1.84 in 102 2/3 innings. He has won three straight decisions and now has 291 career victories.

“How about Randy tonight?” Micah Owings said. “He was awesome.”

Johnson came out after throwing just 86 pitches. He set down 12 of the final 13 batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit after the fourth inning.

“Believe me, it wasn’t easy to take R.J. out of that game,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said.

The teams combined for just four hits, two apiece. It was the first time in franchise history the D-Backs won a game with only two hits.

Harden was dominant the entire way, but left a 1-2 change-up high in the zone to Romero, who clubbed it over the right-field fence.

The Cubs hit some balls hard off Johnson, but Chris Young ran down line drives in both gaps to keep Chicago off the board.

“When you’re watching it track, you’re not sure he’s going to be able to get to those,” Johnson said. “But he tracked every one down. It was a great job.”

Owings was forced into relief to help spell a taxed bullpen, and threw a scoreless eighth inning, inducing a double play off the bat of Daryle Ward to end the frame.

Owings was scheduled to start today’s game, but will spend at least one more day in the bullpen.

“Anything I can do to help this team win,” Owings said.

Chad Qualls came on in the ninth inning for the save because regular closer Brandon Lyon and setup man Tony Pena were both unavailable.

He alleviated a two-on, no-out situation with a double play off the bat of Derrek Lee. Aramis Ramirez then bounced out to second base to end it.

“I know I can get anyone to hit a ground ball, and basically that’s what I was trying to do,” Qualls said. “I was fortunate enough that (Lee) did.”

The Dodgers beat Colorado in Denver, so the two teams remain tied atop the NL West standings at 49-50.

After blowing a three-run lead in the top of the ninth Sunday against Los Angeles, it was a welcome win against a team with the best record in the National League.

“It’s big for us to get back on a winning streak, get back in the swing of things and not let it snowball,” Qualls said.

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