NEW YORK (AP) – Randy Johnson invited the fans at Yankee Stadium to boo him – and they did.

The Big Unit flopped in his postseason debut for New York, lasting only three-plus innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night in Game 3 of the AL division series. He gave up nine hits and left with the Yankees trailing 5-0.

After sending Johnson to the early exit, Los Angeles rallied to send the Yankees to the brink of postseason elimination.

Though the Yankees took the lead and got Johnson off the hook, the Angels managed 19 hits off six New York pitchers in an 11-7 victory that gave them a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

The Yankees will need Shawn Chacon to come through in Game 4 on Saturday to avoid joining the rival Boston Red Sox on the sidelines.

He will need to be a lot better than Johnson was.

One day after Johnson, who came in 0-7 in division series, downplayed the din of the Yankee Stadium crowd, he didn’t have to strain to hear what the fans thought about his outing.

In fact, when there finally were a few cheers while Johnson was on the mound, it was because the scoreboard showed that unbeaten Aaron Small was warming up in the bullpen during the third inning.

Small eventually replaced Johnson and he took his first loss as a Yankee after going 10-0 in the regular season.

On Thursday, Johnson said the Yankee Stadium crowd didn’t seem the same as it did when he was a visitor.

“The crowd, and I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way, but in games that I’ve pitched in Arizona, the crowd was really more animated on the days that I pitched than probably any other day that I would witness. And I really fed off of that,” he said. “At times this year, I felt that with the Yankee crowd. But I think as a visiting player, I felt more hostility, and I fed off of that.

“And so if they want to boo me, then boo me, or cheer me. But do something, because I feed off that.”

Johnson struggled with his mechanics for much of his first season in New York, and he didn’t really begin to put things together until August. But he was superb down the stretch, going 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his final eight starts.

After the first two batters of the game hit long fly balls, the Angels got consecutive hits before Garret Anderson’s homer gave Los Angeles a 3-0 lead – and triggered the first round of boos from Yankee fans.

Johnson gave up a double, a two-run homer to Bengie Molina and a triple to Anderson in the third, the boos growing louder with each hit. Consecutive hits to open the fourth finished Johnson.

AP-ES-10-08-05 0013EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.