Johnson on the mark as Yankees blank Tigers 4-0
The Randy Johnson that took the mound for the Yankees over the last 7 weeks was a poor imitation of the real thing. Think Mike Francesa trying to fit into an x-small. For one day at least the real Randy Johnson stepped forward and led the Yankees to a 4-0 victory.
Johnson retired the first 8 Tiger hitters and, with help from Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield, kept them hitless for 5 1-3 innings until a single by Ivan Rodriguez. He threw chin music to Carlos Guillen and backed up his sneer with solid pitching. Johnson left after allowing a lead off double to Guillen to start the 7th. It would the Tigers final hit of the day.
The Yankees offense kicked it into gear in the third to give Johnson some early support. Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera sandwiched singles around a Terrance Long force out to put runners on the corners with one out. Johnny Damon singled back through the box for a 1-0 lead and Derek Jeter picked up an RBI when his potential double play grounder was botched on a bad throw to first by Guillen.
The Yankees added two more against Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman with two out in the fifth. Gary Sheffield singled and Jason Giambi walked to put two aboard. Alex Rodriguez singled to center to score Sheffield and Jorge Posada followed with a run scoring single of his own. Bonderman (5-4) finally retired Cano on a fly out to left to end the inning.
With Johnson out of the game, the Tigers couldn't fare any better against Ron Villone and Kyle Farnsworth. Villone, who has been rarely used in a non-blow out situation by Joe Torre, retired all six men he faced. Farnsworth retired the side in order in the 9th, getting Carlos Guillen to fly out to Cabrera to close it out.
Jorge Posada returned to the lineup after sitting out the last 4 games with a injured tendon. Posada had 2 hits and an RBI in his return.
Derek Jeter left the game after batting in the fifth inning due to a jammed right wrist. Jeter hurt the wrist when he slid into second base in the third inning. He was removed for precautionary reasons and he expects to be in the lineup on Tuesday. Jeter was hitless in 3 at-bats, dropping his season average to .347.
With Shawn Chacon and Mike Maroth on the disabled list, Aaron Small will face Roman Colon in the 2nd game of the series on Tuesday.