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Big Unit hopes big first half is enough for Cy Young


NEW YORK (AP) _ Arizona's Randy Johnson was the overwhelming winner of the National League Cy Young Award on Tuesday, his second straight award and third of his career.

Johnson, who also won the 1995 award with Seattle, received 22 of 32 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Johnson also got seven seconds and two thirds for 133 points.

Atlanta's Tom Glavine finished second with 64 points, getting four firsts, 12 seconds and eight thirds. Greg Maddux of Atlanta was third with 59 points, followed by Robb Nen of San Francisco (20), Darryl Kile of St. Louis (8) and Kevin Brown of Los Angeles (4).

Johnson joined Maddux and Sandy Koufax as the only back-to-back winners in the NL. Maddux won four straight from 1992-95 and Koufax won in 1965-66. The Big Unit also became the eighth pitcher to win three Cy Youngs in his career. Boston's Pedro Martinez won his third on Monday.

Roger Clemens has five, followed by Steve Carlton and Maddux with four each. Koufax, Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer also have three.

After going 14-2 with a 1.80 ERA before the All-Star break, Johnson faltered down the stretch as Arizona fell out of the pennant race. He won only five times in his final 16 starts, going 5-5 with a 3.81 ERA after the break.

Nevertheless, Johnson finished the year with a 2.64 ERA _ second in the league to Los Angeles' Kevin Brown (2.58) _ while leading the league in strikeouts (347) and winning percentage (.731), and was tied for first in complete games (8) and shutouts (3).

``Our guys realize that we are lucky to have Randy and that we don't have to face him,'' former Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter said in September. ``This is a 37-year-old guy who throws 98 mph. He's a remarkable athlete and I feel lucky to have had him pass my way.''

Johnson joined Nolan Ryan as the only pitcher to record 300 strikeouts in three straight seasons and became the 12th player to reach the 3,000-strikeout plateau.

Glavine (21-9, 3.40 ERA), a two-time Cy Young winner, led the league in wins and was a key component to the Braves' NL East-winning team. Maddux, who has four Cy Youngs, went 19-9 with a 3.00 ERA to earn three first-place votes.

Nen, who got two first-place votes, was the most dominant reliever in the league, going 4-3 with 41 saves and a 1.50 ERA.

Kile, who was the only other 20-game winner, got the final first-place vote.

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