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June 16, 2005

by Sean McNally

So this is what Randy Johnson looks like?

Save for a Michael Restovich wall scraper, the Big Unit was dominant tonight against the Pirates, twirling a complete game five-hitter while striking out 11 and walking not a soul as the Yankees pretty much sewed up the game by the second inning.

The game started with Johnson striking out the side save for a Jason Bay single, as just a harbinger of how dominant he would be tonight.

Jeter led off with a one-hopper over the centerfield wall, then Ankle-Zilla decided to keep the stress off his banged up wheel and put one into the seats in right for a 2-0 lead.

The Yanks added two more when they cashed a Bernie Williams walk, a Jason Giambi smash double and a Robinson Cano single into a pair of runs in the second, which essentially ended the game.

Restovich took a two-out, one-strike slider the other way off the very tip-top of the right field wall (or the very bottom of the right field stands, depending on your point of view) for the one Bucco run.

Some other good notes from the game:

Cano went a respectable 2 for 3 against Oliver Perez, who seemed to be a little oversold coming into the Bronx and might be going through a little sophomore slump.

Giambi might be coming back, for real . . . A big double in the second, a pair of walks, a hit-by-pitch and two runs scored.

For the last couple weeks, Jason's been hitting the ball hard and making me eat my words after "losing my religion" with him earlier.

One note, however, homeboy just can't run. He should have scored on Flaherty's single in the fifth, then he should have stayed put on Cano's grounder to second in the next at bat, not because he should have run faster, but because he should have blown up Humberto Cota at the plate.

Johnson's good start was the second Bad Flash behind the plate, so let the "personal catcher" speculation begin.

I'm ambivalent about the idea, though I hate the notion of personal catchers (yes, I'm looking at you Mr. Maddux and Mr. Perez), but this might work.

Jorge Posada's notorious for fading down the stretch and resting or DHing him every fifth game probably wouldn’t kill him and might help him come October.

So after sweeping the Pirates, the Yanks welcome the Cubs to town. Fresh off a blasting at the hands of Marlins Wednesday, the Northsiders send Carlos Zambrano to the hill versus Dr Jekyl and Mr. Pavano tomorrow.

Saturday brings up Tiger Wang versus a resurgent Glendon Rusch and Sunday features Mike Mussina and Sergio Mitre.

The Yanks are 3-0 through the start of their home stand with 10 games to go and six or seven wins against the Cubs, Devil Rays and Mets seems possible, if not probable.

However, perhaps the best thing about this win is it helped them pick up a half game on Baltimore and Boston, and honestly, every little bit helps.