He had more than his fastball--he had the look. A look that said no one was going to touch Randy Johnson on this day.
"When he stepped on the field today . . . there was something about him," Ken Griffey Jr. said. "It was like, 'Give me one run and I'll take care of the rest."
Johnson, the leading candidate for the AL Cy Young Award, was devastating Monday, pitching Seattle to a 9-1 victory over the California Angels and putting the Mariners in the postseason for the first time in their 19 years.
With Kingdome fans screaming on every pitch and chanting "Randy, Randy, Randy," Johnson (18-2) finished with a three-hitter and 12 strikeouts.
"I'm an emotional pitcher, and I thrive on the emotional atmosphere that was here today," Johnson said. "I don't know if it was my best performance, but it was the biggest game that I've had the chance to rise to the occasion."
Johnson was perfect for 5 2-3 innings and struck out the side in the third and fifth innings. He walked just one batter and lost a shutout when Tony Phillips homered to open the ninth.
"Randy was on from the beginning. It's the best he's thrown," said catcher Dan Wilson. "When you think about the pressure of the game, he was unbelievable."
"The numbers speak for themselves," Angels manager Marcel Lachemann said. "We got three hits and didn't score a run till the ninth inning. He threw very hard. He commanded the ball very well. He made good pitches with his breaking ball.
"That's why he is 18-2 and strikes out nearly 300 every year. He is one of the premiere pitchers in our game."
Added Angels center fielder Jim Edmonds: "You get up against a guy like that in a one-game season, and he has his game, you are in trouble."
The game was scoreless until Vince Coleman's RBI single in the fifth inning made it 1-0. The Mariners broke open the game in the seventh when Luis Sojo's bases-loaded double--aided pitcher Mark Langston's throwing error--turned into a four-run play.
"My motto is to keep the team in the game as long as possible," Johnson said. "Then the floodgates opened, and that took a big weight off my shoulders."
The victory came as politicians were meeting in Olympia to decide how to finance a new stadium for the Mariners -- something team owners say must be decided by Oct. 30, or the team will be up for sale.
"Hopefully, it will keep baseball in Seattle," Johnson said. "This is giving back to a city which hasn't seen a lot of winning years, and it's time for everyone to enjoy this moment."
Johnson, who won on three days' rest, will not be ready to pitch against the Yankees until at least Game 3 Friday night at the Kingdome.
"I don't think that'll be a problem because I'm pitching on a level now," Johnson said.