Johnson Too Much for Braves

From Associated Press

Power beats finesse--this time, at least.

Randy Johnson's 97-mph fastball was too much for Greg Maddux's diverse repertoire Wednesday night at Atlanta, especially when Maddux's pitches kept floating over the center of the plate and winding up in the outfield seats.

Johnson dominated the Braves for eight innings and easily won the head-to-head showdown with Maddux as the Houston Astros defeated the Braves, 4-2.

"Greg Maddux is probably the best pitcher in all of baseball along with Roger Clemens," said Johnson, who yielded only four hits and struck out 10.

"He's much more intelligent than I am because he doesn't have a 95- or 98-mph fastball. I would tell any pitcher who wants to be successful to watch him, because he's the true definition of a pitcher," he said.

The Astros pounded Maddux (17-7) for 10 hits in seven innings, scoring all of their runs on three homers.

Jeff Bagwell hit a solo homer in the second inning, his 29th, and Craig Biggio put the Astros ahead for good with a two-run homer in the fifth. Sean Berry hit a leadoff homer in the seventh.

Johnson (6-1) had double-figure strikeouts for the 99th time, second to Nolan Ryan's 215.

San Francisco 12, Montreal 3--Jeff Kent is too caught up in the NL wild-card race to bother with his own impressive numbers.

"I'd gladly take and trade them for a few more victories right now," said Kent, who drove in four runs with two doubles to help the Giants remain two games behind Chicago in the wild-card race.

Barry Bonds hit his fourth homer in four games, a three-run shot, to make the score 12-2 in the fifth inning.

The Giants took a 4-0 lead in the first off Javier Vazquez on two-run doubles by Kent and J.T. Snow.

Milwaukee 8, Colorado 4--Jeff Cirillo, Dave Nilsson and Jeromy Burnitz each hit two-run homers to pace the Brewers at Milwaukee.

Rafael Roque (3-1) yielded two runs and five hits in six innings. He walked none and struck out five.

Arizona 2, Pittsburgh 1--Tony Batista hit a tying home run in the ninth inning, then tripled and scored on Devon White's single in the 11th at Pittsburgh.

New York 4, San Diego 1--Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo and Lenny Harris homered off Andy Ashby at San Diego as the Mets remained one game behind Chicago in the NL wild-card race.

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