O's closer Johnson done with blip?

O's closer Johnson done with blip?
May 21, 2013, 11:45 pm
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Maybe it wasn’t quite as important as Nate McLouth’s 10th-inning homer that won Tuesday’s game for the Orioles against the Yankees, but Jim Johnson’s outing — one scoreless inning — was nearly as big.

After a short run of blown closing opportunities, another by Johnson might have had Orioles fans in full-fledged panic mode.

Heading into Tuesday, Johnson’s previous three appearances — one each against the Padres, Rays and Yankees — had resulted in Orioles losses in which he failed to protect a lead and close out the game. Twice he gave up home runs. He gave up two runs, then five and one.

Last year, in the midst of his 51-save season, Johnson had a few rough outings in July. In consecutive appearances, he gave up four hits and three runs (one earned) in one inning in a blown save against the Tigers and then four more hits and five earned runs in one-third inning in a non-save situation against the Twins. Eleven days later, he took the loss by yielding five hits and six runs against the A’s.

But from then on, in 26 games, Johnson gave up one run the rest of the regular season — strings of 14 and 11 scoreless appearances. He didn’t blow another save.

So now that Johnson was once again Johnsonian on the mound, it could be this season’s blip is already over for the O’s closer and it’s zero time once more.