"I thought Randy looked a little tired and I thought we had a chance
against him," Indians switch-hitting shortstop Omar Vizquel said. "He
threw a lot of curves and even some changeups, not as hard as usual. We
couldn't get the key hit when we had guys on base and then we messed up
a couple plays that gave them the lead."
Throwing a mix of breaking balls and changeups along with his blazing
fastball, Johnson struck out 11 in seven innings in an 11-1 win over the
Indians on Thursday night.
Dan Wilson and Russ Davis each had three RBIs as Seattle opened a two-game
lead over second-place California in the AL West.
Johnson (14-2) altered his style as the result of throwing a season-high
154 pitches in his previous start, in which he fanned 16 in a 5-4 win over
Kansas City on July 18.
"The Indians are a great team," Johnson said. "You have
to pitch them carefully. My job is, if they are going to get hits for them
not to bunch them or get them with men on base."
Johnson allowed seven hits and one walk in winning for the 39th time
in his last 43 decisions. It was the 11th time in 1997 and 79th time in
his career that he fanned at least 10 in a game. He is 56-12 (.824) in those
"You feel you have a pretty good chance when Randy's out there,"
Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. "Right now he's dominating. He's
been that way for quite awhile. He mixed up his pitches and threw them a
couple of changeups. He had a high pitch count the last time out, so we
wanted to keep him down to about 120 and I think he threw 122."
Johnson surpassed 200 strikeouts for the sixth time in seven years. He
has 209 this season after being sidelined much of 1996 by a back injury
that needed surgery in September.
Tony Fernandez had two singles and a double off Johnson. He also dropped
a potential double-play toss from shortstop Omar Vizquel that led to Seattle's
The error put runners on first and second with one out. Jay Buhner followed
with his second RBI single of the game, Paul Sorrento got an RBI double
and Wilson drove in Buhner with a sacrifice fly.
Seattle built a 3-0 lead in the first two innings on a series of soft,
well-placed hits off Terry Clark (0-2). Buhner had an RBI single in the
first. Jose Cruz Jr. had an RBI single and Joey Cora drove in a run with
a sacrifice fly in the second.
Indians manager Mike Hargrove is bemoaning his team's performance now
halfway through a 14-game homestand.
"It's a little frustrating to be 2-5 on this homestand because you
want to play well in front of the home fans. We just haven't done it. We're
in a bit of a lull right now," Hargrove said. "We're playing hard,
though, and have talent. I'll take the combination. This is still a good
team and a good team comes out of these things."
It was Cleveland's most lopsided loss at Jacobs Field, which opened in
Notes: David Justice, the only left-hander in the Indians' lineup, fanned
all three times up against Johnson. ... Sandy Alomar hit his 26th double
in the sixth, tying his career best set in 1990. ... Ken Griffey Jr. went
2-for-3 with two walks. He has gone 14 games and 57 at-bats without a homer.
He has one homer in his last 96 at-bats. ... Seattle is 6-2 against Cleveland
in 1997. ... Cleveland signed infielder Pat Listach to a Class-AAA contract.
The 1992 AL Rookie of the Year was released by Houston on July 2. ... The
Indians also agreed to terms with top draft pick Tim Drew, a right-handed
pitcher, and signed outfielder Jason Fitzgerald, their "sandwich pick"
between the first and second rounds