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YANKEES 4, TIGERS 0

Yankees' Johnson is on his game

Struggling lefty shuts down Tigers

DETROIT -- Randy Johnson was dominant on the mound, and defiant off it.

Johnson didn't give up a hit for 5 2/3 innings and combined with two relievers for a two-hitter, leading the New York Yankees over the Detroit Tigers, 4-0, yesterday.

The 42-year-old Johnson, who had given up at least four runs in five of his previous six outings, surrendered just two hits and three walks and struck out four over six-plus innings.

``One good game doesn't make a whole year," Johnson bristled. ``But five or six bad games for me doesn't make a year, either. It doesn't mean I'm done."

Ivan Rodriguez broke up Johnson's bid for his third no-hitter -- and second against the Tigers -- with a single to right.

``I couldn't have cared less," Johnson said after his first strong outing in a month. ``If I had a perfect game, I would've come out after seven innings."

After ending the sixth by striking out Magglio Ordonez, Johnson (7-4) pumped his left hand as he walked off the mound.

``There was a huge difference," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. ``Mechanically, he was very comfortable for me to watch.

``When you see something like you saw, you don't even look at who the next hitter is."

Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter drove in runs in the third. Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada had RBIs in the fifth.

Jeter injured his right hand and left the game. He jammed the hand in the third inning while sliding into second base, the Yankees said, though Jeter wasn't sure how he did it. After batting in the fifth, Jeter was taken out for precautionary reasons so his hand could be iced.

Jeter expects to play tonight.

``It's no big deal," he said.

Jeter, who was 0 for 3 and ended a nine-game hitting streak, began the game hitting an AL-best .352.

Johnson left after Carlos Guillen's leadoff double in the seventh, having thrown 91 pitches. Reliever Ron Villone retired the next three batters, keeping a run off of Johnson's line. Villone also pitched the eighth, and Kyle Farnsworth worked a perfect ninth.

Jeremy Bonderman (5-4) gave up four runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings. Bonderman, who struck out five and walked two, had won four of his previous five decisions.

The Yankees did not have an extra-base hit off Bonderman, but managed to get men on base and moved them with grounders through the infield and bloop singles.

``They found holes," Bonderman said.

With their fifth win in six games, the Yankees are nine games above .500 for the first time this season.

Detroit first baseman Chris Shelton was pulled off the bag twice in the third inning, turning potential double plays into scoring opportunities for the Yankees. Damon's single and Jeter's fielder's choice put New York ahead, 2-0.

``We probably gave them an extra out, but we didn't score any runs," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``That makes it pretty simple."

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