ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Randy Johnson wasn't dominating; he was just good enough to hang around and finally beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Johnson became the third pitcher in major league history with 4,400 strikeouts and Johnny Damon hit a grand slam last night, leading the Yankees to a 10-5 victory and consecutive wins on the road for the first time this season.
Johnson (5-2) won his third straight decision despite the third subpar performance in his last four outings. The lefthander allowed five runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, including Ty Wigginton's two-run homer that gave Tampa Bay a 5-4 lead.
''I expect to pitch extremely well every time out. Everybody expects me to pitch well, and I'm fine with that. I'm not going to," Johnson said. ''When my team picks me up like they have the last couple of games, I'm very grateful, as any pitcher would be."
With owner George Steinbrenner watching part of the game from his suite at Tropicana Field, the Yankees rallied three times to help Johnson end a three-game losing streak against the Devil Rays -- the Big Unit's third-longest skid against an opponent.
Alex Rodriguez drove in the go-ahead run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the seventh. That came one pitch after Chad Orvella forced in the tying run by walking Jason Giambi.
Damon hit his fifth career grand slam in the eighth after the Yankees filled the bases against Dan Miceli on an error and two walks. Hideki Matsui hit a solo homer off Tampa Bay starter Doug Waechter in the second.
In sweeping the two games, the Yankees claimed their first series away from Yankee Stadium after going 0-4-1 in the first five.
Johnson became the third pitcher to reach the 4,400-strikeout plateau when he fanned Nick Green in the fourth. He trails Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Roger Clemens (4,502) on the career list.
''Would I rather win and pitch poorly? Well, at this stage of my career, wins mean more than anything on this team," said Johnson, who beat the Devil Rays for the first time since he was with Seattle in 1998.
Tampa had beaten him three straight times over six starts with Seattle, Arizona, and the Yankees. Only Detroit (six) and Baltimore (four) have had longer stretches of success against Johnson.
''He knows what we expect of him. He knows what his teammates look for when he pitches," New York manager Joe Torre said. ''The only thing you can do is keep working and keep battling, and I saw that tonight."
The Yankees have trailed in each of their last 10 games, but have rallied to win seven of them.
Johnson gave up an RBI double to Jonny Gomes in the first and fell behind, 3-1, in the third when Wigginton and Carl Crawford singled to drive in runs. But every time Tampa Bay scored, New York responded.
Matsui hit his fourth homer of the season in the second, ending a stretch of 19 games without one.