6/18 Johnson on Yanks’ Rivera

Reed Johnson hit the first home run off Mariano Rivera this year when he led off the ninth inning with his blast.

 “I think the scouting report is he’s going to throw that one pitch, a cutter,” said Johnson, who was 1-for-10 in his career off Rivera and hit a front-door cutter. “In six or seven years, he’s thrown me one sinker.”

The Cubs actually have out-homered the Yankees in this series, which is quite a feat considering New York’s starting eight had combined for 89 home runs compared to 46 by Chicago. Johnson and Carlos Pena raised the total to 48, with Pena hitting a two-run game-tying homer in the fourth.

Johnson said he had a good idea as to what Rivera throws.

“Obviously, being in the AL East for five years, it helps having some at-bats off him,” Johnson said. “With only a two-run lead, he’s going to stick with his best pitch. It’s been working for however many years he’s been in the league. I was fortunate to get one up a little bit and took a good swing at it.”

Rivera doesn’t appear to have lost his touch.

“He still looks good and if he keeps throwing like that, I don’t know why he couldn’t keep throwing for a few more years,” Johnson said. “Even though the velocity is down, when it’s moving that much, it makes it appear it’s coming in harder than it is.”

— Carrie Muskat

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