Johnson faces off against Bonderman

Yankees hope Big Unit can win series finale

Yankee fans didn't stop booing Randy Johnson until mid-June. But it was a start before that that the tall lefty has pointed to as the turning point in his season.

It came on Memorial Day in Detroit, where Johnson went six scoreless innings while allowing just two hits. He had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning before giving up a two-out single to Ivan Rodriguez.

Johnson had allowed four or more runs in each of six starts leading up to the start against the Tigers, who, as they still do on Thursday, entered the game with the Majors' best record.

But in typical Big Unit fashion, Johnson didn't put much stock into that performance before facing the Tigers again on Thursday.

"It was only six innings and it was early in the year," Johnson said. "I think our team is different now and their team is different now. It is what it is."

Johnson is coming off a loss against the Mariners in which he gave up four runs in an eight-inning complete game. It snapped his three-game win streak and dealt Johnson his 10th loss of the season. Still, Johnson feels he's still in the groove that began in Detroit.

"I got my work in, I'm ready to go," Johnson said before Tuesday's game, which was postponed because of rain.

Johnson was originally scheduled to pitch on Wednesday, but manager Joe Torre said he didn't want Chien-Ming Wang and Johnson pitching on the same day. Johnson told Torre he was fine with the shift, and the manager doesn't foresee the lefty having any problems adjusting.

The Yankees split Wednesday's doubleheader after losing Game 2 in the top of the ninth. The Yankees have won four out of six games against the Tigers this season.

Pitching matchup
DET: RHP Jeremy Bonderman (11-6, 3.92 ERA)
Bonderman is winless in his last six starts, his longest non-winning streak since the summer of 2004. He allowed four earned runs, three in one frame, in 6 1/3 innings against the Indians in his last start. He is 1-1 in two career outings at Yankee Stadium.

NYY: LHP Randy Johnson (14-10, 4.96 ERA)
Johnson has tossed fewer than six innings in just one of his last 14 starts.

Player to watch
Johnny Damon is 7-for-21 (.333), with two doubles and three RBIs against Bonderman in his career.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
Official game notes

On television

On radio

Up next
• Friday: Twins (RHP Carlos Silva, 8-12, 6.50) at Yankees (RHP Cory Lidle, 10-9, 4.64), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Twins (RHP Brad Radke, 12-9, 4.46) at Yankees (RHP Jeff Karstens, 1-0, 4.63), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Twins (RHP Matt Garza, 1-3, 5.06) at Yankees (TBA), 1:05 p.m. ET

Ryan Mink is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.