Randy Johnson reached 4,000 career strikeouts and still couldn’t change the Arizona Diamondbacks’ luck.
Johnson struck out eight to join Nolan Ryan (5,714), Roger Clemens (4,200) and Steve Carlton (4,136) as the only pitchers to fan 4,000 batters, but the Diamondbacks lost their franchise-record 11th consecutive game, 3-2 to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
Johnson (9-6) reached the milestone the quickest of any pitcher by striking out Jeff Cirillo for the second out of the eighth. He got there in 3,237 1/3 innings, a strikeouts per nine innings ratio of 11.12. None of the others had a double-figure ratio, with Ryan’s 9.55 the next-best based on 3,844 2/3 innings.
Khalil Greene homered off Johnson with one out in the eighth, providing the winning margin for the Padres, who won for the seventh time in eight games.
After Terrence Long doubled, Johnson threw three sliders to Cirillo to reach a 2-and-1 count before blowing a fastball by him to make it 2-and-2. After missing with a slider to run the count full, Johnson got his eighth strikeout of the game with an 87-mph slider low on the outside corner as Cirillo took a half-swing.
Long was thrown out by catcher Robby Hammock attempting to steal third on the play to end the inning. Johnson tapped fists with Hammock as they walked back to the Diamondback dugout, and the big left-hander waved his cap to the crowd.
Johnson, whose 196 double-digit strikeout games are second only to Ryan’s 215, gave up three runs and four hits in eight innings.
Brian Sweeney (1-0) held the Diamondbacks to one run on four hits and a walk in his first major league start after seven relief appearances.
Trevor Hoffman worked the ninth inning to record his 18th save in 20 chances.
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Randy Johnson reached the 4,000-strikeout milestone faster than any pitcher in history. All-time strikeout leaders with number of seasons played and strikeouts per nine innings pitched:
*--* Pitcher Ks Years K/9IP 1. Nolan Ryan 5,714 27 9.55 2. Roger Clemens 4,200 21 8.64 3. Steve Carlton 4,136 24 7.13 4. Randy Johnson 4,000 17 11.12