Big Unit gets big win

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Randy Johnson was everything the Houston Astros wanted when they sacrificed their future to get him: overpowering, dominating, intimidating. Everything including a winner.
Johnson, pitching fewer than 48 hours after Houston swung the big trade to get him, struck out 12 in seven innings and the Astros scored four times in the eighth to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-2 Sunday.
Despite battling jet leg, an unfamiliarity with Pittsburgh hitters — he knew only a few even after studying box scores on an all-day trip Saturday — Johnson was just as menacing for the NL Central-leading Astros as he was for the Seattle Mariners.
“I’m tired, hungry and ornery, just the way I want to be before I pitch,” he said.
His 12 strikeouts gave him 225 for the season — he led the AL before he was traded Friday for three prospects — and are an Astros’ season high. It also was the eighth time in his nine starts he had double-digit strikeouts, and gave him the overall major league lead in strikeouts.
The Big Unit, who drew as many cheers during pregame introductions as the hometown Pirates, breezed through the first four innings in his first NL start since April 1989 for Montreal, allowing only two singles and walking one.
His only worry about returning to the NL was batting again, but he didn’t look overmatched at the plate, popping up once, hitting a sharp ground ball another time and striking out once.
About the only time he looked uncomfortable was when he warmed up before the first inning, when he shooed away several of the nine photographers who lined up behind home plate shooting his warm-up pitches.