Refreshed Big Unit beats Braves


The Associated Press
New York Yankees' Jason Giambi takes a curtain call after his second-inning, three-run home run off Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson, Monday at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees won 5-2.

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK — Randy Johnson wasn’t sure how he was going to pitch in his first start in a week.
The rested Big Unit ended up surprising himself.
Johnson tossed seven shutout innings, Jason Giambi homered twice and drove in five runs and the New York Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves 5-2 Monday night.
Johnson (9-6) allowed four hits, struck out a season-high nine and didn’t walk a batter. He was pitching on six days’ rest after serving a five-game suspension for throwing at Cleveland’s Eduardo Perez on June 14.
“Being under house arrest for it seemed like forever, it was nice to get back out there and pitch,” Johnson said, “but to be honest with you, pleasantly surprised to be in command as much as I was with all my pitches.”
Johnson didn’t allow a runner past first base until Edgar Renteria went to third on Chipper Jones’ two-out single in the sixth.
The left-hander then struck out Andruw Jones to get out of the inning. Johnson recorded seven strikeouts in his last three innings. It was his first start against the Braves since he threw a perfect game for Arizona in a 2-0 win at Atlanta on May 18, 2004.
“I know he had a lot of rest between starts,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said of Johnson. “It looked like it. When his slider is right, you can’t hit it — you just can’t hit it.”
Andy Phillips went 3-for-3 and Derek Jeter scored two runs on his 32nd birthday for the Yankees, who have won five of six.
Johnson retired eight in a row before Matt Diaz reached on an error by third baseman Alex Rodriguez with one out in the fifth. The Big Unit then struck out Wilson Betemit and Adam LaRoche to get out of the inning.
Johnson said he felt good throwing his fastball, slider and split-fingered fastball after he loosened up.
“I got ahead in the count and got them to chase pitches because of the command with the three pitches that I had today,” Johnson said. “It was all pretty surprising to be able to throw all three pitches for strikes, especially late in the game when I haven’t pitched in a week.”
After a rough stretch earlier this season, Johnson has gone at least six innings in five of his last six starts. He has allowed four runs in his last 20 1-3 innings.
“He just seems very comfortable right now,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “... He seems to be able to do what he wants to do. I’m not talking about getting people out, I’m just talking about making pitches.”
Mariano Rivera got the last two outs for his 17th save in 19 chances.
New York scored five runs in the first two innings against Tim Hudson (6-7), who lost his third consecutive start and dropped to 1-4 in June.
Jeter singled with two outs in the first and Giambi followed with a drive to right off his former Oakland teammate. The Yankees loaded the bases after Giambi’s 21st homer but Hudson got Bubba Crosby to line out to end the inning.
Giambi hit a three-run homer on a full-count pitch from Hudson with two outs in the second to make it 5-0.
“He was a great teammate but it’s always fun taking at-bats against him because he’s so good,” said Giambi, who played with Hudson for three seasons with the Athletics. “He definitely makes you think up there so luckily I got two pitches that he kind of left up in the strike zone.”
Hudson shut out the Yankees over the next three innings. He allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out one. He has given up 14 runs in his last 19 innings.
“Both pitches were changeups that were down but they came over the plate a little more than I wanted them to,” Hudson said of Giambi’s two homers. “In another park, I don’t know if they’re homers but here they are.”
Chipper Jones hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning and went 3-for-4 for Atlanta. Kevin Barry also threw three scoreless innings in his major league debut.
Notes: Cox was ejected by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt after Rivera struck out Diaz looking on a full-count pitch with one out in the ninth. It was his sixth ejection of the season.
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano felt better Monday after leaving the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader against the Marlins Sunday with a strained left hamstring. General manager Brian Cashman said Cano was walking around normal before the game but feels tight. He said they would monitor him over the next day or so before deciding whether to place him on the disabled list.


Tourney to start today

The opening round of the USA Cup gets underway later this afternoon, as women’s handball teams from the United States, Canada, Croatia and The Netherlands begin chasing the coveted title.
The SUNY Cortland Alumni Arena hockey rink is the site for the tournament that gets underway with The Netherlands facing Croatia at 5 p.m. The USA team that trains at SUNY Cortland plays the 7 p.m. nightcap against Canada.
There will be two games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in round robin format. After a day of rest Friday, teams will be seeded based on their overall record and semifinal matches will be held Saturday.
The third place consolation game is at 2 p.m. Sunday, with the title match to follow at 4 p.m.
The schedule:
Tuesday: Croatia vs. Netherlands (5), USA vs. Canada (7)
Wednesday: Netherlands vs. Canada (5), USA vs. Croatia (7)
Thursday: Croatia vs. Canada (5), USA vs. Netherlands (7)
Saturday: Semifinals at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Sunday: Cons. at 2 p.m, Final at 4 p.m.



J-Mac heroics ESPY worthy

ROCHESTER (AP) — He’s the student manager who scored 20 points in under four minutes in his only varsity basketball game. That performance brought Jason McElwain of Greece a nomination Monday for an ESPY award for “Best Moment.” The awards are given by ESPN.
After his six three-pointers on Feb. 15 made highlight reels across the country, the Greece Athena High School student with autism met President Bush. His basketball story is being turned into a movie.
Now McElwain, known as “J-Mac,” is up against Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who scored 81 points in a single game.
Other contenders for the ESPY are the George Mason men’s basketball team that reached the Final Four, and Dakota Dowd, a 13-year-old golfer who played in an LPGA Tournament. The ESPYs, an Academy Awards-style show for sports, will be televised July 16.


Beavers prove everyone wrong

AP Sports Writer

OMAHA, Neb. — Kevin Gunderson carried the College World Series trophy into Oregon State’s postgame news conference, smiling as his teammates followed him up to the podium.
The Beavers were unlikely national champions, and their star closer was having fun basking in the moment.
“I think we came here and a lot of people out there picked us to lose every single game, so thank you for doing that,” Gunderson said. “It gave us a lot of motivation to go out there and prove those people wrong.”
Bill Rowe scored the go-ahead run on second baseman Bryan Steed’s throwing error in the bottom of the eighth inning, and Oregon State held on to beat North Carolina 3-2 on Monday night for its first College World Series title.
“We’re going to enjoy it, and nobody can take it away,” Gunderson said. “We’re the 2006 national champions.”
That appeared improbable when Oregon State arrived in Omaha and lost its first game 11-1 to Miami. The Beavers (50-16) bounced back and fought off elimination six times, becoming the first team in CWS history to lose twice in Omaha and win the national championship.