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Giambi, Johnson shut down O's


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NEW YORK -- The reports of Randy Johnson's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

On Sunday afternoon, five days after being roughed up by the Blue Jays, the Big Unit dominated the Orioles, leading the Yankees to a 7-1 victory.

 

Johnson allowed one run on three hits -- all by Miguel Tejada -- over eight innings, and Jason Giambi homered twice and drove in five runs to lead the Yankees' offense.

 

"It doesn't get much better than that," said manager Joe Torre. "If Tejada doesn't play, it may be a no-hitter."

 

"It's a little tough to score with only one of your guys getting hits," said Orioles skipper Sam Perlozzo. "Obviously, Randy did a pretty good job."

 

The win lifted New York's record to 9-8, just the second time the Yankees have been over .500 since winning the season opener. The victory was the Yankees' second in a row after alternating wins and losses over the past six days.

 

"The biggest thing is having Randy pitch the way he pitched today," Giambi said. "Up and down this lineup, you look at all the great names offensively, but we're really going to ride the big fella."

 

Johnson wasn't interested in discussing his Sunday gem, instead turning his attention to next Saturday, when he will try to avenge his loss to the Blue Jays.

 

"I'm going to have some bad starts -- I'm only human," Johnson said. "It's nice to be able to bounce back after the game that I had. I guess the real challenge will be to face them at our ballpark, learn [from] the mistakes I made the last time and correct them.

 

"I'm looking forward to redeeming myself against Toronto."

 

The pairing of Johnson and catcher Jorge Posada was not a problem for New York, as the two worked well together throughout the afternoon. This marked just the second time in five starts that Posada has caught Johnson, and the left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in those two starts.

 

Including Johnson's relief outing in Game 5 of last year's American League Division Series, he has a 0.93 ERA in his last three outings with Posada.

 

"It's just another day," Posada said. "You establish a plan before the game, and we executed it real well. He made one mistake [a homer by Tejada], and that was it. He was outstanding."

 

After losing Friday night's series opener by a single run, the Yankees rebounded with two straight wins against Baltimore, putting them right in the middle of things in the American League East.

 

"Friday was a demoralizing loss," said Alex Rodriguez. "To get two wins going into the off-day and a tough Tampa series, it's good for our psyche."

 

Tejada blasted his solo home run off Johnson in the second, stroking the 1-0 pitch off the screen of the left-field foul pole for the first of his three hits against the Big Unit.

 

Giambi pulled the Yankees even in the bottom of that inning with a solo home run to right-center field, his sixth of the season. Andy Phillips added an RBI single against starter Bruce Chen, giving the Bombers a 2-1 lead.

 

"I guessed right on that one," Giambi said. "He threw me a changeup down and away, I leaned out over the plate and caught it good enough to get it out of the ballpark."

 

New York added to its lead in the third, with Rodriguez reaching on a two-out error, setting up Giambi's second homer. Giambi crushed Chen's 3-2 pitch off the upper-deck facade in right field, giving him two multi-homer games this season and 32 in his career.

 

"This is the best I've felt in a while," Giambi said. "My swing has been really good so far this year."

 

The Yankees threatened again in the fifth, when Chen loaded the bases with no outs. John Halama came in from the bullpen and escaped the jam after allowing just one run, on A-Rod's sacrifice fly.

 

Giambi capped the scoring in the seventh, plating two runs with an opposite-field double.

 

"He looks like he did when he was in Oakland," A-Rod said, referring to Giambi's 2000 MVP season. "The ball is just exploding off his bat, which is what we saw in the second half of last season."

 

Johnson cruised through the Orioles' lineup after Tejada's homer, retiring 21 of the next 24 hitters through the eighth.

 

"It's very important for us to see him go out and pitch into the eighth inning," A-Rod said. "That's what the doctor ordered for us."

 

"He looked like he was 22," said Baltimore's Melvin Mora. "I'm telling you, he wasn't joking around."

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Guest So.Cal Dub

That was good game. If Johnson didn't pitch so great, I'd say Giambino caried this game. Either way it was awesome.

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