Johnson, who had been tied with Roger Clemens for second, now trails only Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, who fanned 5,714 during his 27-year career, a record that almost certainly will never be broken.
Johnson's strikeout accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider how many innings he'd done them in. Whereas Ryan averaged 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings and Clemens 8.6, coming into Tuesday's game, Johnson averaged 10.8, the best mark in history for a pitcher with at least 1,000 innings pitched.
While first place on the all-time strikeout list may be out of reach, Johnson has another milestone in his sights. The big left-hander has 288 victories, just 12 shy of the magic 300 wins.
Johnson is 4-1 on the year, but if the Arizona bullpen had pitched better in a pair of games and the offense had come through in another, he could easily be 7-1 on the year.
It appears Johnson has gotten better with each start this year. He began each of the past two seasons on the disabled list because of offseason surgeries on his back.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.