2nd Longest Home Run Game Recap
Athletics 4, Mariners 1
SEATTLE (Jun 25, 1997 - 04:03 EDT) -- Randy Johnson set a record for the most strikeouts by an American League left-hander -- with 19 -- and lost.
"I was more worried about wanting to win the game than the strikeouts," Johnson said after coming one strikeout shy of the major league record in Seattle's 4-1 loss to Oakland on Tuesday night.
Mark McGwire hit a 538-foot home run, the longest of his career, and an RBI double to beat Johnson (11-2).
"I've said all along that strikeout games and low-hit games are kind of just icing on the cake," said Johnson after emerging from an hour-long ice treatment after the game. "The biggest thing was to go out there and win the ballgame."
Johnson, who has won four AL strikeout titles and leads the majors this season with 157, nearly matched the nine-inning record of 20 set twice by Roger Clemens. Clemens did it in 1996 and 1986 for Boston.
"That's the way it goes," said Johnson, who walked none. "I've just got to work hard to prepare myself for my next start."
Johnson became the fifth pitcher to fan 19, joining Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton and David Cone. Like Johnson, Carlton lost when he struck out 19.
The Athletics ended a five-game losing streak and broke the Mariners' five-game winning streak. Seattle lost for the first time at home in nine games this month.
In a quiet Mariners' dressing room, Ken Griffey Jr. said he sympathized with Johnson's plight.
"He pitched his butt off today," Griffey said. "We just didn't score any runs. The sad part is that he went out there and did what he was supposed to and we didn't."
Johnson's previous career high was 18, accomplished in only eight innings at Texas on Sept. 27, 1992. Johnson got a no-decision in that game.
Johnson, featuring a fastball in the uppers 90s mph, struck out 15 in the first six innings. The 6-foot-10 left-hander fanned no one in the seventh, but added three more victims in the eighth.
He said he became aware that he had a chance at baseball history in "the seventh or eighth inning."
"I struck out 19 guys, but I still got an 'L' next to my name."
In the ninth, Johnson had an 0-2 count on leadoff man Scott Brosius, who flied out. George Williams followed with a home run, then Johnson struck out rookie Mark Bellhorn for No. 19.
With a chance to tie Clemens, Johnson got his last out on a fly ball by rookie Jason McDonald.
Johnson had his seven-game winning streak stopped. The Athletics had 11 hits.
McGwire hit the longest recorded home run in the 21-year history of the Kingdome. Facing his former Southern California teammate, McGwire connected on a 97 mph fastball for a solo drive into the second deck in left field in the fifth inning.
"Obviously, it felt good," McGwire said. "When you have a great pitcher in Randy Johnson out there, you get pumped up to face him. Vice versa, he is pumped up to face me."
McGwire hit his 27th home run of the season and 356th of his career. Earlier this season, he hit a 514-foot blast at Tiger Stadium. Andres Galarraga hit a 529-foot shot for Colorado at Florida on May 31.
McGwire's mammoth shot 10 rows deep was only the 10th ball hit into the Kingdome's second deck in left field. McGwire did it twice in a single inning Sept. 22, 1996.
Steve Karsay (2-7) pitched six scoreless innings for his first victory since May 23. He allowed three hits, walked two and struck out five before being replaced by Mike Mohler at the start of the seventh.
Oakland took a 2-0 lead in the third on three consecutive one-out hits -- a single by Rafael Bournigal and doubles by Geronimo Berroa and McGwire.
Griffey Jr. went 3-for-3. He doubled and tripled and scored Seattle's run in the ninth.
Notes: Johnson struck out 10 or more batters for the 76th time in his career and the eighth time this season. ... Bournigal had three hits for the A's.