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Glove story: Burriss rescues Unit

Glove story: Burriss rescues Unit

WASHINGTON -- Behind most big pitching victories lies impressive defense. This was proven again in Randy Johnson's 300th victory on Thursday, which featured an outstanding and probably game-saving play by second baseman Emmanuel Burriss.

With runners on first and second, nobody out and the Giants clinging to a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning, Burriss made a diving stop of Ronnie Belliard's one-hopper up the middle and shoveled the ball from his glove to shortstop Edgar Renteria to start a double play.

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Johnson was appreciative, to say the least.

"That could have turned the whole game around if that was a base hit," Johnson said.

Guzman's smash caromed off the first-base side of the pitcher's mound, which might have been a break for the Giants.

"I think its hitting the mound helped me get to it," Burriss said, "because it was hit pretty hard and it took that high bounce off the mound and enabled me to gain some ground on it."

Burriss said that Johnson's immediate reaction was muted. But the Big Unit made sure Burriss knew how much that play meant.

"Right after the play he gave me one of those looks like, 'atta boy,' said Burriss, who added that Johnson was too mentally focused to gush over him or any other teammates in the dugout between innings.

After the game, Johnson gave Burriss a proper tribute.

"He came up to me and said, 'great play.' It was awesome," Burriss related. "Everybody behind him wanted to do their part to help him get to that milestone."

Aaron Rowand also came up with a big play behind Johnson. The Giants center fielder robbed Nick Johnson, Washington's second batter of the game, by plunging to the turf to snare a sinking liner in left-center field.

And Johnson helped his own cause defensively. Anderson Hernandez led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a chopper up the middle. The ball went off Johnson's glove and he scurried for it. Johnson picked up the ball and made a diving throw to first baseman Travis Ishikawa, who snagged the low toss.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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