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Unit Fans #3,000, But D'backs Fall

A firefighter tries to stop a wildfire on the hills near the renowned sea resort of Alassio, on the Italian riviera, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007. Lack of rain, unusually warm temperatures and strong winds are thought to have contributed to causing two large wildfires on the riviera, near Alassio and near Savona.
AP Photo/Silvio Fasano
Randy Johnson got his 300th strikeout of the season, then he got No. 3,000 for his career. He finished with a season-high 14 strikeouts in seven innings Sunday against the Florida Marlins.

What he really wanted was a win.

"Obviously winning for the team comes first, especially considering the situation that we're in," said Johnson, who became the 12th player to reach the 3,000 strikeout plateau "So when you look at tonight, the outcome of what I did isn't as good since we lost."

Preston Wilson singled with two outs in the 12th inning, scoring Mark Kotsay from second base, as the Marlins beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 and spoiled Johnson's milestone outing.

The Diamondbacks fell 4 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in the NL wild card race. The Mets beat Philadelphia 3-0 on Sunday.

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  • "The loss is a setback," Johnson said. "We had some momentum going. Now we have to regroup and see if we can get another winning streak going."

    Celebrating his 37th birthday, the tall and lanky left-hander struck out the side in the second, fourth and sixth innings before leaving with the score tied at 3. He gave up six hits and one earned run, settling for his fourth no-decision in his last nine starts.

    "He had outstanding stuff. He gave us a chance to win the game," Arizona manager Buck Showalter said. "Our guys realize that we are lucky to have Randy and that we don't have to face him. This is a 37-year-old guy who throws 98 mph. He's a remarkble athlete and I feel lucky to have had him pass my way."

    The Marlins, despite striking out a team-record 21 times one short of the NL record snapped a five-game losing streak.

    Kotsay beat out a drag bunt to start the 12th off Russ Springer (2-4). His headfirst slide just beat Greg Colbrunn's tag. Kotsay moved to second on Luis Castillo's sacrifice bunt.

    Springer intentionally walked Floyd, setting up Wilson's game-winning hit that scored Kotsay from second base.

    "It was a great jump by Kotsay, great turn at third base and a great slide," Marlins manager John Boles said. "That was a big one to win. I needed it. The whole team needed a base hit there."

    Florida's recently maligned bullpen allowed just one hit in the final five innings. Braden Looper (5-1) got two outs in the 12th for the win.

    But Johnson was the story of the game. His slider was the best the Marlins have seen, Boles said. And it was the main cause for the 14 Ks.

    "He was as tough as he looked," Wilson said. "There was nothing we could do. He was snapping it off pretty good."

    Mike Lowell became Johnson's 3,000th victim, striking out on four pitches to end the fourth inning.

    Catcher Kelly Stinnett carried the ball into the dugout, while Johnson walked off the field to a standing ovation. He raised his black glove into the air, acknowledging the crowd's applause, as he reached the dugout steps.

    "You hope to have a chance to catch a pitcher like that," Stinnett said. "To catch him on a night when he goes out and gets his 3,000th strikeout is an honor."

    The Marlins scored three runs one earned off Johnson in the fifth inning. With one out, Mark Smith and Mike Redmond hit back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners.

    Chuck Smith then hit a one-hopper back to the mound, but Johnson's errant throw to second base was in the dirt and allowed Smith to score. Dave Berg doubled with two outs, scoring Redmond and Smith.

    "I made one mistake on the comebacker," Johnson said. "And tht was the ballgame right there."

    Arizona answered with three runs in the sixth off Smith, highlighted by Greg Colbrunn's 11th home run of the season, a two-run shot.

    Johnson's first strikeout of the game gave him 300 for the third consecutive season and the fourth time overall.

    Nolan Ryan is the only other pitcher to strike out 300 in three straight seasons, doing it in 1972-74.

    Johnson's four 300-strikeout seasons are second only to Ryan's six.

    "We were all aware of the strikeouts," Showalter said. "I think everybody had the count going in the dugout."

    Notes

  • The three runs the Marlins scored off Johnson in the fifth inning were one more than they scored in their previous 24 innings.
  • Wilson stuck out three times, giving him 174 this season and leaving him 15 shy of Bobby Bonds' record set in 1970.
  • Including Sunday's 1 hour, 7 minute rain, the Marlins have had eight rain delays at home this season, stopping play for 11 hours and 27 minutes.

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