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Johnson tames AL bats
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07/14/2004 1:19 AM ET
Johnson tames AL bats
Big Unit gets out of bases-loaded jam unscathed
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Randy Johnson lowered his All-Star ERA to 0.75 in eight appearances. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
HOUSTON -- Well, at least one of the National League's fortysomething future Hall of Famers got out of Tuesday night's All-Star Game relatively unscathed.

Not long after 42-year-old hometown hero Roger Clemens of the Astros had a nightmarish first inning, the Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson worked through a bases-loaded jam to keep the damage inflicted by American League hitters to a minimum.

Johnson, 40, allowed three consecutive one-out singles in the third inning of the AL's 9-4 victory over the NL in the 75th All-Star Game at Minute Maid Park, but he wound up getting out of the jam without allowing a run.

"He battled -- I think they all battled," National League manager Jack McKeon of the Marlins said. "I mean, you're facing the best hitters in baseball out there. I'm just glad the rest of the guys held them at bay after that first inning."

Johnson had left the building by the time the game ended and was unavailable for comment.

Making his 10th All-Star appearance, Johnson entered the game after Clemens had allowed six first-inning runs and Milwaukee's Dan Kolb had gotten through the second allowing only a single to stem the tide of the AL's momentum.

McKeon said the struggles Clemens went through in the first dictated his going for the young Brewers reliever over Johnson as the second pitcher for the NL squad.

2004 All-Star Game

"We figured Roger might be able to go two [innings]," McKeon said. "But after he threw 30-some odd pitches, I don't think it was advisable to let him go. And here was a youngster out here that could warm up quickly and I had a chance to get him in the game rather than go with Johnson, who maybe we [couldn't] give enough time to warm up."

Johnson got Alex Rodriguez to ground out to second base for the first out, but then Yankees Jason Giambi and Derek Jeter both singled, and game MVP Alfonso Soriano of Texas added another to left that wasn't able to score Giambi from second.

With the bases full, Johnson struck out pinch-hitter Ken Harvey for the second out and then got Ichiro Suzuki of Seattle on a groundout to first, barely beating the leadoff man to the bag to record the out off the flip from St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols.

With this appearance, his eighth actual appearance on the mound, Johnson lowered his All-Star ERA to 0.75, though his three hits almost doubled his previous total of four. Johnson raised his strikeout total to 12, well behind the all-time All-Star career mark of 19 set by Don Drysdale in his eight mound appearances in the Midsummer Classic.

John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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