MIAMI (AP) — Winning a game with his arm was nothing unusual for Josh Johnson. Hitting a big home run was.
Johnson hit a three-run shot for his first career homer and pitched into the eighth inning Thursday night, leading the Florida Marlins to a 4-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I kind of ran into a ball and got pretty lucky,” Johnson said. “But I’ll take it.”
John Baker had an RBI single in a four-run fourth for the Marlins, who took three of four from the Brewers. Milwaukee dropped into a first-place tie with St. Louis atop the NL Central.
Johnson (5-1) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 2-3 innings. He walked one, struck out eight and hit a batter with a pitch in earning his first home victory since April 12.
He connected off Dave Bush (3-2) in the fourth to give Florida a 4-1 lead.
“I saw (center fielder Mike) Cameron running and I said, ‘Please, drop … do something,'” Johnson said. “As soon as I saw him get to the fence I was like, ‘OK, I got it.'”
Johnson earned a curtain call from the crowd of 11,623 but needed to be pushed out of the dugout by his teammates.
“Pretty much everyone in the dugout was laughing or smiling, one of the two,” he said.
Jorge Cantu led off the inning with a double into the left-field corner. He held at second when Jeremy Hermida reached on an infield single to shortstop. After Cantu went to third on Dan Uggla’s flyout to deep center, Baker lined a run-scoring single to center to tie it 1-all.
After an out, Johnson hit a pitch over the wall in straightaway center. His homer was the first by a Marlins pitcher since Dontrelle Willis connected against Atlanta on Aug. 29, 2007.
“It wasn’t a cheap one. He hit it to one of the deepest parts of the ballpark,” Bush said.
Johnson gave way to Dan Meyer with two outs and a runner on first in the eighth. Meyer promptly gave up Prince Fielder’s 13th home run, a two-run drive that cut Florida’s lead to 4-3.
“I don’t know what (Meyer) was thinking. He threw a fastball and I got it,” Fielder said.
Matt Lindstrom pitched a scoreless ninth for his 11th save in 13 opportunities. The game took 2 hours, 25 minutes.
Bush gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out four.
Fielder’s run-scoring triple gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Fielder finished with three hits.
J.J. Hardy opened the fourth with a bloop single and advanced to second on Ryan Braun’s groundout. Fielder then hit a liner to right, and Hermida charged but failed to make the catch. The ball rolled past him, allowing Fielder to reach third.
Notes:@ The Marlins placed RHP Anibal Sanchez (right shoulder discomfort) on the 15-day disabled list. Earlier, Florida designated RHP Hayden Penn for assignment and recalled RHP Tim Wood from Triple-A New Orleans. The team also recalled RHP Rick VandenHurk from a rehab assignment and optioned him to New Orleans. … The Brewers moved RHP David Riske (elbow surgery) from the 15- to the 60-day DL. … Milwaukee closer Trevor Hoffman is the first pitcher 40 or older to begin a season with at least 16 consecutive scoreless innings since the Angels’ Art Fowler threw 17 straight in 1963. … The four-game series drew 45,975, an average of 11,494.