Johnson on cusp of win No. 300 after victory

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Randy Johnson finally stepped to the edge of history at the San Francisco Giants' foggy ballpark with his 299th victory, the 45-year-old left-hander allowed himself to savor the view for just about as long as it took to change out of his uniform.

"I don't know what it's going to be like," Johnson said. "I can't anticipate things until they happen. I'm just grateful I'm in this position. It's been a lot of hard work, with the back surgeries and the knee surgery. ... I just like going out there and pitching and doing well."

The Big Unit then got back to business. Even after 22 years in the big leagues, he's always thinking ahead to his next start -- and he knows it's an awfully big one.

Johnson pitched six impressive innings against the Braves, yielding three hits and one run in the Giants' 6-3 win Wednesday night.

Johnson (4-4) retired the Braves' first nine hitters and 15 of the first 16 in a performance reminiscent of the Big Unit in his inimitable prime, although the 45-year-old left-hander has less power and more precision these days.

The five-time Cy Young Award winner struck out five to run his career total to 4,843, second-most in baseball history. He didn't walk a batter and allowed his only run on Casey Kotchman's RBI single in the sixth, which he finished by striking out Chipper Jones for the third time.

"The thing about Randy, he used to be a power pitcher," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "He studies the game and hitters, and he made great adjustments today. ... He kept the ball down. He had a good fastball, was locating it well, and using both sides of the plate. Good command, and he had one of his better sliders."

Johnson likely will get his first chance to become the 24th major leaguer with 300 victories next Wednesday at Washington.

"I'm sure he's been waiting for this moment all year," Bochy said. "The way the game is, it's tougher for these starters, with the way they're being used, to get the wins and reach 300. [Jamie] Moyer, who knows how long he'll keep pitching? He's not that far away, but it's going to be a long time before we see another guy reach 300."

Some of Johnson's children and a few Bay Area friends will make the journey, which he acknowledges is more than just another business trip.

"Anxiety? A little nervous? Yeah, I suppose," Johnson said. "I'd love to do it here in front of family and friends and the ownership. Of all the trips to do it on, it had to be on the East Coast one."

Johnson often is at his best against the Braves, who have scored just two runs against him in 28 innings dating back to 2004. Despite outstanding career numbers against the Unit, Jones was particularly flummoxed, striking out twice to end an inning -- and a third time with a runner on third base.

"Randy can still win," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "We didn't rough him up at all."

Aaron Rowand hit two doubles for the Giants and stole home when Atlanta catcher David Ross fell down while running to tag him on a broken play. Rowand was one of five Giants who drove in a run as they got back to .500 with their first three-game series sweep of the season.

Brian Wilson pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 13 opportunities.

All four of Johnson's victories during his first season with the Giants have occurred at home, but San Francisco's bullpen nearly blew No. 299 after the Unit left with a 2-1 lead.

After the Giants scored two more runs in the sixth, Atlanta pinch-hitter Garret Anderson hit a two-run single in the seventh to trim the lead to 4-3. But San Francisco added two more runs in the seventh while giving Johnson more than one run of support for just the fourth time in his 10 starts.

Kenshin Kawakami (3-6) allowed nine hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings for Atlanta during his sixth defeat in eight starts.

"I just gave up too many walks and put too many guys on base," Kawakami said through an interpreter. "Control was a big part of this loss. I was trying to throw first-pitch strikes and they were hitting them, and that led to a lot of baserunners."

Game notes
Jones also struck out in the eighth against reliever Merkin Valdez, giving him the first four-strikeout game of his career. ... Jeff Francoeur threw out Bengie Molina at the plate in the fifth inning when San Francisco's stone-footed catcher attempted to score from second base on a single to right field.