While Chris Davis crushed his way through an Orioles record earlier Friday night with his 31st home run of the season, closer Jim Johnson achieved his own milestone about 90 minutes later in the Orioles' 4-2 win over the New York Yankees.
When Johnson got Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner to ground out to second baseman Alexi Casilla, who flipped the ball with his glove to shortstop J.J. Hardy to force catcher Chris Stewart out at second base, it closed the door on Johnson's 28th save of the season -- and his 100th of his career.
"Yeah, I think that's cool. I usually don't get caught up in stuff like that, but that was pretty cool," Johnson said. "Never would have thought."
Johnson, though, did make it interesting in his first appearance since blowing the save and taking the loss Wednesday night against the Cleveland Indians. Yankees first baseman Lyle Overbay doubled to right-center field to lead off the inning, and after a Jayson Nix strikeout, Johnson hit Stewart with a pitch.
With fans flashing back to Wednesday and his late May struggles, though, Johnson buckled down. He struck out New York third baseman David Adams on a foul tip off a 95-mph fastball before inducing Gardner's groundout.
"He was a lot crisper tonight, and I was finally able to give him that extra day," manager Buck Showalter said. "And with the off-day tomorrow, he should be in good shape."
Johnson's 28 saves lead the major leagues and put him one ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates' Jason Grilli and the Texas Rangers' Joe Nathan. His 100 saves are tied for third-most in Orioles history, and he joins Gregg Olson (160), Tippy Martinez (105) and Stu Miller (100) as the only Orioles to record 100 or more saves.
Since the start of last season, when he posted a majors-high 51 saves, Johnson has 79 saves, which is 14 more than the next highest total of 65, held by the Atlanta Braves' Craig Kimbrel.
Johnson is also the sixth active pitcher to have 100 saves with his current organization, joining the Yankees' Mariano Rivera (634), the Detroit Tigers' Jose Valverde (119), Kimbrel (112), the Milwaukee Brewers' John Axford (106) and the Indians' Chris Perez (106).
Johnson has two streaks of at least 12 converted save opportunities this season. He converted his first 14 to start the season -- part of a larger streak of 35 straight that dated back to last season -- and then 12 straight from May 29 to June 25.
"Only need a couple hundred, more, right?" Johnson said. "It's just one step and we'll see where we are. I'm more worried about how many wins we get and where we end up at the end of the year."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun