RANDY JOHNSON strikes out 20 in nine innings

Wednesday, May 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PHOENIX (AP) _ Imposing Arizona Diamondbacks lefty Randy Johnson on Tuesday became only the third pitcher ever to strike out 20 batters in nine innings.

Johnson mowed down 20 batters against the Cincinnati Reds in the Diamondbacks' game at Phoenix, equaling Roger Clemens' and Kerry Wood's record total for nine innings. But Johnson missed out on a share of the official record nonetheless: The game went into extra innings tied at 1, and baseball statisticians said Johnson's performance will be considered as occurring in an extra-inning game even though he came out before the Reds batted in the 10th.

The major league record for strikeouts in an extra-inning game is 21 by Tom Cheney for Washington against Baltimore in a 16-inning game on Sept. 12, 1962.

When the ninth inning began Tuesday, Johnson had 18 strikeouts. He struck out pinch-hitter Deion Sanders on three pitches leading off. He gave up a groundout to Donnie Sadler, but he then struck out Juan Castro swinging. The pitcher raised his right arm in celebration and tipped his cap as he walked off the field.

Bank One Ballpark put a ``K'' on the scoreboard for each strikeout, but the board ran out of room before Johnson reached 20. Additional ``Ks'' were then tacked on the side of the board, with lights forming ''20'' in the middle.

Johnson also achieved another milestone Tuesday: With 3,132 strikeouts, he passed Bob Gibson (3,117) to move into 11th place on the career list.