Originally created 05/24/04

Johnson's chance at back-to-back perfection ends in third inning



MIAMI -- Randy Johnson's bid to become the first pitcher to throw consecutive perfect games ended in the third inning Sunday.

Johnson set down the first six Florida Marlins he faced - extending his run to 39 straight batters retired over his last three starts - before allowing Abraham Nunez's leadoff double in the third inning.

Johnson, 40, became the oldest major league pitcher to throw a perfect game when he retired all 27 Atlanta batters he faced last Tuesday night. It was the 17th perfect game in baseball history.

Had Johnson been perfect through three innings against the Marlins, he would've eclipsed the major league record of 41 straight batters retired set by San Francisco's Jim Barr 32 years ago.

During Barr's streak, which began against Pittsburgh on Aug. 23, 1972, and resumed six days later against St. Louis, he was hardly overpowering. Of the 41 he set down in order, only five - Pittsburgh's Roberto Clemente twice and Willie Stargell once, plus St. Louis' Dwain Anderson and Bernie Carbo - were by strikeout.

Johnson, meanwhile, struck out 15 of the 39 he set down consecutively. He retired the last six batters he faced against the New York Mets on May 12, then all 27 Braves in his last start.

Johnny Vander Meer is the only major league pitcher to throw consecutive no-hitters, doing it in 1938 for Cincinnati.