His slider dipped violently. The fastball zipped in at around 95 mph. Watch out National League batters: Randy Johnson appears to be dominant again.
Johnson held the San Diego Padres to a run and three hits in seven innings of the Arizona Diamondbacks' 5-1 victory Friday night. The Big Unit struck out seven and got a hit in his first win since having back surgery in August.
"This is the reason I'm playing, because I feel I can do these kind of games when I'm healthy," he said. "That's why I'm still playing because I still enjoy being competitive, I still enjoy going out and doing that. I'm 44 years old. I still enjoy going and grabbing a bat and trying to put the ball in play. I still enjoy the competition of trying to get a hitter out."
The 6-foot-10 lefty's last win came on June 10 against Boston. He made one more start before his 2007 ended because of a sore back that required a second surgery in less than a year.
"My body felt good today," Johnson said. "I'm pleased."
In other NL games, it was: Los Angeles 8, Colorado 7 in 13 innings; Philadelphia 6, Pittsburgh 5; Atlanta 6, New York 3; Washington 5, Chicago 3; Florida 3, Milwaukee 0, 10 innings; Houston 3, St. Louis 2; and San Francisco 3, Cincinnati 1.
Johnson had a no-decision in his first start this season, at San Francisco, and lost to Randy Wolf and the Padres on Sunday, 9-4 at home. Johnson (1-1) walked two Friday. Three relievers combined for three hitless innings to preserve the win.
Manager Bob Melvin said Johnson appears to be on a similar pace as last year.
"I know he feels pretty good," Melvin said.
The last-place Padres lost for the ninth time in 10 games. They're six games under .500 and 8 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks.
"Johnson had pretty good stuff tonight," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He threw the ball well."
The NL West-leading Diamondbacks jumped on Wolf for five runs in the third inning, which was highlighted by Mark Reynolds' three-run homer to straightaway center.
"I kept getting behind in the count, especially that third inning," Wolf said. "I wasn't ahead of anybody. You have to credit them. They're a good, young, hitting team. When you fall behind, and you're not making quality pitches, they'll take advantage of it."
Reynolds has seven homers and 22 RBIs, both team highs.
Wolf (2-1) was gone after four innings. He allowed five runs and seven hits while striking out three and walking none.
Dodgers 8, Rockies 7, 13 innings
Russell Martin went 4-for-4 and drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the 13th inning to help host Los Angeles snap a seven-game losing streak against the defending NL champions.
The game took 4 hours, 38 minutes, and took place eight days after the Rockies won a 22-inning game at San Diego that took 6 hours, 16 minutes.
Chan Ho Park (1-0) allowed two hits over three scoreless innings. Taylor Buchholz (1-2) gave up the winning run, which was set up Troy Tulowitzki's error.
Braves 6, Mets 3
Jair Jurrjens walked three consecutive batters with the bases loaded in the third inning, then got his first major league hit ahead of Kelly Johnson's tiebreaking, two-run homer for visiting Atlanta.
Johnson had four RBIs and helped the Braves sent the Mets to their fifth loss in six games. Jurrjens (3-2) recovered from his wild stretch _ he didn't allow another batter to reach and retired his final 10 batters _ combining with four relievers on a two-hitter.
Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox was ejected for the 136th time, extending his major league record.
Mike Pelfrey (2-1) gave up five runs, nine hits and four walks in 5 1-3 innings.
Phillies 6, Pirates 5
Chris Coste had three hits and three RBIs, and visiting Philadelphia's bullpen pitched more than five innings of effective relief.
Jayson Werth hit his fourth home run in five games and had two RBIs for the Phillies, winners of five of six. Tom Gordon (2-2) pitched one inning of relief to pick up the win and Brad Lidge pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
Zach Duke (0-2) took the loss.
Giants 3, Reds 1
Jonathan Sanchez pitched into the ninth and matched his career high with 10 strikeouts for host San Francisco to outpitch Reds ace Aaron Harang (1-3).
Sanchez (2-1) retired 16 straight during one stretch and won his second straight start after going winless in his first three outings of 2008.
Astros 3, Cardinals 2
Carlos Lee's home run capped a three-run rally off Jason Isringhausen (1-2) in the ninth inning, helping visiting Houston win its sixth straight.
Wesley Wright (3-0) had two strikeouts and a walk in the eighth. The Cardinals had a runner on third with one out in the bottom of the ninth before Jose Valverde finished for his fourth save in seven chances.
Nationals 5, Cubs 3
Wil Nieves hit first major league homer, a two-run shot in the ninth inning, to give host Washington the win. Nieves drove an 0-2 pitch from Chicago's Bob Howry (0-2) into the Nationals' bullpen in right field for their second straight win after dropping 16 of 19.
Jon Rauch (2-0), Washington's fifth pitcher of the evening, worked a perfect ninth.
Marlins 3, Brewers 0, 10 innings
Hanley Ramirez raced home on a 10th-inning grounder to short with the infield in to score the game's first run, and visiting Florida beat Milwaukee.
Cody Ross added a sacrifice fly to center and Mike Rabelo had a run-scoring single off Guillermo Mota (1-1), who came on in the 10th.
Kevin Gregg (3-0) pitched the final two innings for Florida.
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