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31 Ks in two games for Braves

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves' hitters felt bad enough after
striking out 18 times against Milwaukee's Ben Sheets.

They followed up with something even more shameful.

Arizona's Randy Johnson became the oldest pitch in major league
history to throw a perfect game, retiring all 27 Atlanta hitters in
the Diamondbacks' 2-0 win Tuesday night.

"It's embarrassing," Andruw Jones said. "It's embarrassing
when you get beat like we did."

From an offensive standpoint, the Braves strung together two of
the most dismal performances possible in back-to-back games.

On Sunday, Sheets struck out 18 -- the highest total in the big
leagues in three years -- while cruising to a 4-1 win. The
right-hander shattered his previous career high of 18 Ks.

The Braves did a little better job of making contact against the
left-handed Johnson, who had 13 strikeouts. But for the first time
in the history of the franchise, which started play in 1876, they
couldn't get a single batter to first base.

"A lot of guys came back to the dugout shaking their heads,"
Chipper Jones said.

The 31 strikeouts are the most in Atlanta history over a
two-game span.

The Braves, who had the best offense in the NL last year, have
struggled for runs since losing Gary Sheffield, Javy Lopez and
Vinny Castilla.

Injuries have also taken their toll. Johnson faced a makeshift
lineup that included journeyman Jesse Garcia -- in the leadoff spot,
no less -- and rookie Nick Green, called up from the minors last
week.

Green was filling in for Marcus Giles, an All-Star second
baseman who is out for at least six weeks after breaking his
collarbone. Garcia started in place of Rafael Furcal, who can't
throw because of a jammed finger.

"It was a situation where a dominant pitcher caught a
struggling team," Chipper Jones said.

Johnson had only a few close calls.

Garcia led off the bottom of the first with a bunt and made a
headfirst slide for the bag, but was tagged out by first baseman
Shea Hillenbrand. J.D. Drew hit a liner toward the right-field
corner in the fifth, but Danny Bautista made a basket catch. The
next inning, Mike Hampton hit a slow roller toward shortstop but
Alex Cintron threw out the Atlanta pitcher by a half-step.

"We had guys hit the ball hard, but right at them," Drew said.
"Things were falling in place for them."

The Atlanta fans turned their allegiance toward Johnson in the
final two innings, wanting to see history. He got a standing
ovation at the end of the eighth and another when he batted in the
top of the ninth.

In the bottom half, the fans were on their feet throughout.
After Eddie Perez struck out on a 98 mph fastball to end the game,
the crowd erupted with chants of "Randy! Randy! Randy!"

"It's embarrassing," Johnny Estrada said. "I appreciate the
game of baseball and the history of the game, but this ..."

His voice trailed off.

There wasn't much more to say.