PHOENIX, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Randy Johnson ended the longest personal losing streak in postseason history Tuesday with an efficient three-hitter and Craig Counsell scored both runs as the Arizona Diamondbacks edged Greg Maddux and the Atlanta Braves, 2-0, in Game One of the National League Championship Series.
Johnson had dropped seven straight postseason decisions, dating to the 1995 American League Division Series--when he was with Seattle. But the three-time Cy Young Award winner was more masterful than overpowering against Atlanta.
The 38-year-old lefthander allowed a two-out single to Chipper Jones in the first inning and retired 20 consecutive batters before Bernard Gilkey walked in the eighth. He retired pinch hitter Mark DeRosa and rookie Marcus Giles easily to open the ninth but surrendered two-strike singles to Julio Franco and Jones.
With runners at the corners, Johnson completed his gem by striking out Brian Jordan.
Badgered by the media about his inability to win in the postseason, Johnson politely answered questions Monday, saying he appreciated the fact that so much was expected of him. Less than a day later, he went out and throttled Atlanta's offense, walking one and striking out 11.
Johnson was plagued by a lack of support at times during the regular season, but Arizona scratched out runs in the first and fifth innings.
Counsell, who hit a home run for Arizona in Game Three of the Division Series against St. Louis, had a hand in both rallies. He singled with one out in the first and took third when Braves second baseman Giles failed to field a bouncer up the middle by Luis Gonzalez. Reggie Sanders followed with a line drive up the middle for a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth, Counsell lined a two-out double just out of the reach of Gold Glove center fielder Andruw Jones and Gonzalez, who had just one RBI in the NLDS, pulled a single into right field for a two-run cushion.
Maddux again took a hard-luck loss in October. The four-time Cy Young Award winner allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out five but remained winless in his last nine starts.