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Johnson Hit Hard Again in Losing Third in Row

From Associated Press

The trade rumors are gone, but Randy Johnson’s troubles remain.

“I don’t know what to say. I really don’t,” Seattle Manager Lou Piniella said after Johnson gave up a season-high seven earned runs in the Mariners’ 7-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.

“I was hoping for a better effort.”

Mike Macfarlane hit a three-run homer off Johnson and the A’s overcame two home runs by Jay Buhner.

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Johnson (5-6), who pitched seven innings, has lost three consecutive starts for the first time since dropping eight in a row in 1992.

The left-hander, 20-4 last season, has not had a losing record this late in a season since finishing 1992 at 12-14. Johnson’s 5.61 earned-run average is the highest it has been at this point in a year.

“I’ve seen him bounce back too many times,” said former Seattle teammate Mike Blowers, who went two for four with an RBI double against Johnson. “I’ve got to believe he’s going to do it again. It’s Randy Johnson out there. You just hope he doesn’t find it against you.”

The losing streak began when rumors of Johnson’s trade to the Dodgers ended. Before the three losses, Johnson had struck out 25 batters in consecutive victories.

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Whatever thoughts Johnson has remain in his head. He stopped talking to reporters after the Dodger trade fizzled.

Johnson struck out seven and gave up eight hits. He walked six.

Buhner put the Mariners ahead, 2-0, with a homer in the fourth. He hit his fourth home run of the season in the seventh.

But the Mariners managed only three hits off Blake Stein (3-3) and relievers Buddy Groom and Mike Fetters. Stein gave up the three hits in 6 2/3 innings.

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