Johnson K's 13 in perfect effort

ATLANTA (AP) -- Randy Johnson had pretty much done it all -- Cy

Young Awards, a no-hitter, strikeout records, a World Series


Unit By The Numbers

Randy Johnson pitched the 17th perfect game in major league history, dominating the Braves with a fastball that reached 97-98 mph and a hard-veering slider. Here is perfection by the numbers:

  • Total pitches: 117

  • Strikes: 87

  • Balls: 30

  • Batters faced: 27

  • Velocity of last pitch: 98 mph, striking out Eddie Perez.

  • Strikeouts: 13

  • Number of batters in which he reached 3-ball count: 1

  • Number of batters in which he reached 2-ball count: 8

  • Swings and misses: 28

  • Foul balls: 31

  • Pitches that Johnny Estrada saw in three at-bats: 22

  • Estrada foul balls: 13

  • Total pitches in the seventh inning: 14

  • Total pitches in seventh clocked at 97 or 98 mph: 6

  • Unit pitch-by-pitch


  • Only one thing was missing in his brilliant career, that rarest

    of pitching feats.

    At the ripe ol' age of 40, the Big Unit took care of that, too.

    Johnson became the oldest pitcher in major league history to

    throw a perfect game, retiring all 27 hitters to lead the Arizona

    Diamondbacks over the Atlanta Braves 2-0 Tuesday night.

    "A game like this was pretty special," said Johnson, a

    five-time Cy Young Award winner. "It doesn't come along very


    It was the 17th perfect game in major league history, the 15th

    since the modern era began in 1900 and the first since the New York

    Yankees' David Cone against Montreal on July 18, 1999.

    "Everything he's done up to this point pales in comparison,"

    Arizona manager Bob Brenly said.

    Johnson struck out 13 and went to three balls on just one hitter

    -- Johnny Estrada in the second inning. Estrada fouled off three

    straight 3-2 pitches before going down swinging.

    Late in the game, Johnson sat stoically in the dugout, staring

    at the ground with his eyes closed, appearing to be almost asleep.

    "It didn't faze me," the left-hander said. "Winning the game

    was the biggest, most important thing."

    Randy Johnson's days with the Diamondbacks could be numbered ... or maybe not.
    Randy Johnson's days with the Diamondbacks could be numbered ... or maybe not.

    His manager was a lot more nervous. From the sixth inning on,

    Brenly remained frozen in the same spot -- sitting on the bat rack,

    tapping Matt Kata's bat with his knuckles while following one of

    baseball's oldest superstitions.

    "This is one of those nights where a superior athlete was on

    top of his game," Brenly said. "There was a tremendous rhythm out

    there. His focus, his concentration, his stuff, everything was as

    good as it could possibly be."

    Cy Young, then 37, had been the oldest to throw a perfect game,

    doing it in 1904.

    Johnson sure didn't act his age, getting stronger as the game

    went along on a pleasantly warm night in Atlanta.

    "Not bad for being 40 years old," he said. "Everything was

    locked in."

    While it was the first perfect game of Johnson's career, it was

    his second no-hitter. He no-hit Detroit for Seattle on June 2,

    1990, walking six.

    "That was far from perfect," he recalled. "I was a very young

    pitcher who didn't have any idea where the ball was going. I was

    far from being a polished pitcher. Fourteen years later, I've come

    a long way as far as knowing what I want to do."

    Most Years Between No-Nos




    Randy Johnson



    Nolan Ryan



    Cy Young



    Ted Breitenstein



    Nolan Ryan



    Bob Feller



    Jim Bunning



    It was the longest span between a pair of no-hitters by a

    pitcher in baseball history.

    Former teammate Curt Schilling, who teamed with Johnson to lead

    the Diamondbacks to the World Series championship in 2001, watched

    the final two innings on a television at Tropicana Field in St.

    Petersburg, Fla.

    Schilling now plays for the Boston Red Sox, who had a game

    against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

    "Guys that play the game at that level ... do things other

    people don't dream of doing," Schilling said. "They push

    themselves. That's what he's done."

    Johnson is back on his game after enduring an injury plagued,

    6-8 season in 2003.

    "He's been pitching great," Schilling said. "I just want to

    find all those people that were talking about the end of his career

    last winter."

    Appropriately, Johnson struck out the final batter, pinch-hitter

    Eddie Perez, with a 98 mph fastball.

    Johnson pumped his fist and raised his glove in the air, but his

    teammates seemed even more excited. He started to put out his right

    hand when Robby Hammock arrived at the mound, but the young catcher

    -- a foot shorter than Johnson -- gave the pitcher a bear hug


    Within seconds, Johnson was mobbed by the rest of his teammates.

    "He could smell it at the end," Estrada said.

    The crowd of 23,381 at Turner Field gave Johnson a standing

    ovation as he walked slowly toward the dugout. He waved in several

    directions before disappearing down the tunnel.

    "Randy! Randy! Randy!" the fans chanted.

    He became only the fifth pitcher to throw no-hitters in both the

    National and American leagues, joining Young, Jim Bunning, Hideo

    Nomo and Nolan Ryan.

    The crowd sensed history in the making when J.D. Drew grounded

    out to end the eighth. The Atlanta fans gave Johnson (4-4) a

    standing ovation as he trudged off the mound, then another when he

    batted in the ninth.

    While the Braves hit several balls hard off Johnson, the closest

    thing to a hit was a slow roller by Johnson's Atlanta counterpart,

    Mike Hampton, in the sixth. Alex Cintron scooped up the ball and

    threw out Hampton by a half-step.

    Johnson lingered near the third-base line, giving Cintron a pat

    with the glove as he ran off the field.

    Cintron also was the offensive hero, driving in Arizona's first

    run and scoring the other.

    There were few other close calls against Johnson. Atlanta's

    first hitter, Jesse Garcia, led off with a bunt toward first and

    tried to reach with a headfirst slide, but Shea Hillenbrand managed

    to make the tag. In the fifth, Drew hit a liner toward the

    right-field corner, only to have Danny Bautista make a basket


    "This was a legitimate perfect game, any way you slice it,"

    Estrada said.

    Johnson threw the first no-hitter in Seattle history and now

    he's pulled off the same feat for a different team. This was the

    first no-hitter for Arizona, which joined the major leagues in


    The Braves, who started a makeshift infield because of injuries

    to Marcus Giles and Rafael Furcal, were no-hit for the first time

    in 25 years. Ken Forsch of Houston did it on April 7, 1979.

    In two straight games, short-handed Atlanta has endured

    dominating pitching performances. Milwaukee's Ben Sheets struck out

    18 Sunday.

    Now this.

    "It was a situation where a dominant pitcher caught a

    struggling team," Atlanta's Chipper Jones said.

    Johnson's fastball reached the upper 90s in the late innings.

    Andruw Jones lost his bat trying to catch up with a heater in the


    Johnson dominated the Braves with two pitches, augmenting his

    fastball with a devastating slider. He didn't bother much with his

    split-finger fastball.

    The Diamondbacks snapped a five-game losing streak in which they

    scored only eight runs. Johnson took one of those losses, losing

    1-0 to the New York Mets.

    In fact, Arizona had scored only one run total in Johnson's

    previous two starts. They weren't much better this time, but it

    didn't matter.

    Hampton (0-5) pitched his best game of the season, allowing

    eight hits. It didn't matter -- he's off to the worst start of his


    Arizona went ahead 1-0 after Hampton retired the first two

    hitters in the second. Danny Bautista singled to right and came all

    the way around to score on Cintron's double to the gap in


    The Diamondbacks added another run in the seventh, this time set

    up Cintron's double down the left-field line. With two outs, Chad

    Tracy lined an RBI single up the middle.

    Notes: Sixteen perfect games have occurred during the regular

    season. Don Larsen of the Yankees pitched his in the 1956 World

    Series. ... Hampton has lost five straight decisions for only the

    second time in his career. He also lost five in a row at the end of

    the 2001 and the beginning of 2002.