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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Other sports
Randy Johnson first lefty to strike out 20

Associated Press

PHOENIX — Randy Johnson got 20 strikeouts but not the glory.

Johnson became only the third pitcher to strike out 20 in nine innings but missed out on tying the record because Arizona and Cincinnati went to extra innings last night. The Diamondbacks went on beat Cincinnati, 4-3, in 11 innings.

"This was a game to put in a time capsule and let people of the future watch it," Johnson said.

Johnson became the first left-hander to strike out 20, but didn't join Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood, who share the record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

The Elias Sports Bureau, baseball's statistician, said Johnson's performance will be considered as occurring in an extra-inning game even though he came out after nine.

The major league record for an extra-inning game is 21 by Tom Cheney for Washington against Baltimore in a 16-inning game on Sept. 12, 1962.

"I was asked if I wanted to go out there and saw no point in going out there for the 10th inning," Johnson said. "I surely could have went out there and done it, but what was the point in going out there and throwing 10 innings? I really didn't see it."

Johnson wasn't disappointed, though. He wanted to turn the game over to the bullpen.

"The outcome is what's important," he said.

Clemens struck out 20 for Boston against Seattle on April 29, 1986, and did it again for the Red Sox at Detroit on Sept. 18, 1996. Wood struck out 20 for the Chicago Cubs against Houston on May 6, 1998.

Mark Grace, who hit a game-tying double in the 11th, played in Wood's game.

"There really wasn't much difference," Grace said. "They both had that electric slider going."

Johnson threw 124 pitches, 92 for strikes, and walked none.

Johnson struck out the side in the fourth, seventh and eighth innings, and fanned two batters in the first, second, third, fifth and ninth. He struck out only one in the sixth.

He had 18 strikeouts in the first eight innings, then struck out pinch-hitter Deion Sanders on three pitches leading off the ninth.

Johnson gave up a groundout to Donnie Sadler, then struck out Juan Castro swinging. Johnson then raised his right arm in celebration and tipped his cap as he walked off the field.