for this game

Johnson outduels Harden as Diamondbacks down Cubs

Jul 22, 2008 - 6:32 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Rich Harden can't seem to buy a win with the Chicago Cubs. Randy Johnson, on the other hand, can do no wrong against the National League Central leaders.

Rookie Alex Romero's first major-league homer broke up Harden's bid for a no-hitter in the sixth inning, sending the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 2-0 win over the Cubs on Monday.

Since being acquired from the Oakland Athletics on July 9, Harden has permitted a single run over two starts but has yet to collect a win. On July 12, Harden tossed 5 1/3 scoreless frames against San Francisco only to watch reliever Carlos Marmol implode in the ninth by giving up five runs to send the game into extra innings.

Against Arizona, the righthander struck out 10 for the second consecutive game, but lost his no-hitter and a chance at a win when Romero, homerless in his first 63 at-bats in the majors, muscled Harden's high 1-2 slider just out of the reach of right fielder Mark DeRosa and over the fence.

"Harden pitched great," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "It was our offense. Tomorrow, we are canceling batting practice and, the next day, we are canceling batting practice and we are going to come out here and just stretch and play.

"I am tired of seeing balls fly all over in batting practice and when the (darn) game starts, I see very little or nothing. We'll see if that works. We did it Sunday and it worked."

It was the only hit the former Athletics ace allowed over seven innings.

"I made one bad pitch, a two-strike changeup right down the middle," Harden said. "I felt good out there but a little bit inconsistent. I was getting behind some hitters, so I've got to start getting ahead and be more efficient with my pitches."

Unfortunately for Harden, his mound counterpart Johnson (7-7) had a vintage performance, permitting two hits and walking one over seven frames, striking out four. With his strikeout of Aramis Ramirez in the fourth, he became the first player in major league history to strike out 2,000 with two teams.

"It was nice to win a game like that," Johnson said. "It was kind of a high today where it was kind of a down yesterday (Arizona allowed five runs in the ninth to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 6-5 loss).

"A game like that where it is a 1-0 game, every pitch means something. There are so many story lines, Rommy (Romero) getting his first major-league hit and it is a game-winner. ... It was a confidence builder for me going out there and pitching well."

Amazingly, Johnson improved to 13-0 with a 1.82 ERA in 14 career starts against the Cubs.

The 44-year-old lefthander, who posted his 291st career win, is the second pitcher to ever go at least 10-0 against the Cubs. Only Sal Maglie, who was 10-0 in 19 starts against Chicago from 1954 to 1958, had accomplished such a stellar mark against Chicago.

"I didn't know what my numbers were against them," Johnson said. "There is no rhyme or reason."

Stephen Drew added an insurance run in the eighth with an RBI triple, providing enough of a working margin for Micah Owings to toss a scoreless eighth before handing over the ninth-inning duties to reliever Chad Qualls, who posted his second save after regular closer Brandon Lyon had thrown 67 pitches while working each of the last three games.

"The way we had it drawn up before the game we would use Micah in the eighth and Qualls in the ninth but, believe me, it wasn't easy taking Randy out," Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said.

"We had to play defense tonight. It had to be a clean game with both pitchers; it looked like after two or three innings that it would be tough to score. That is when the other facets of the game come into play."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHICAGO CUBS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
    ARIZONA 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 x 2 2 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CHN - RICH HARDEN, BOBBY HOWRY (8TH) AND GEOVANY SOTO
    ARI - RANDY JOHNSON, MICAH OWINGS (8TH), CHAD QUALLS
    (9TH) AND CHRIS SNYDER

    HOME RUNS: CHN - NONE
    ARI - ALEX

    Jul 21 11:58 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots

    Cubs 0, Diamondbacks 2  Top 9, 0 OutsJul 21 11:50 PM


  • NL
    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY STEPHEN DREW SCORED CHRIS SNYDER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, S DREW ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 0
    ARIZONA 2 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: C JACKSON (.304, 0-FOR-3)

    Cubs 0, Diamondbacks 2  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 21 11:48 PM
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    Cubs 0, Diamondbacks 1  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 21 11:19 PM
  • jllanclos What a shot to break up the no-hitter... Homer. Now harden's losing.

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    Cubs 0, Diamondbacks 1  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 21 11:12 PM


  • NL
    AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ALEX ROMERO (1) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    6TH OFF RICH HARDEN.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 0, ARIZONA 1
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: RA JOHNSON (.120, 0-FOR-1)

    Cubs 0, Diamondbacks 1  Bot 6, 0 OutsJul 21 11:06 PM
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    Cubs 0, Diamondbacks 0  Bot 6, 0 OutsJul 21 11:03 PM
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    Cubs vs. DiamondbacksJul 21 8:17 AM