After a string of bad outings - it was good to see Jason Johnson pitch well. Unfortunately, while it was better than what he had been showing as of late, it still wasn't enough.
Johnson gave up 4 runs (3 earned) on 10 hits over 7 innings. He also walked 3 and struck out 2 as his ERA continues to hover very close to 5 (currently at 4.95).
The start was certainly an improvement over what Johnson had done over his past several starts, but there was still plenty of room left for improvement as Johnson recorded his 6th straight loss.
The problems didn't exist for Brad Radke, who cruised to his 11th victory of the year. Radke got run support, but did very well on the mound, allowing just 1 run on 7 hits over 7 innings. Joe Nathan made it a sweep for himself as well, recording his 43rd save. Nathan got a save in all 4 of the games in the weekend series with the Tigers.
And while Johnson still didn't pitch great, the loss can't be pinned solely on him, as the offense wasn't able to generate much offensively. Jason Smith had a 2-run double in the 9th, as he's receiving more playing time with Carlos Guillen on the bench, and Omar Infante also chipped in with a pair of hits. Another Erie Seawolf made his major league debut - as Curtis Granderson got the start in Centerfield. Like Ryan Raburn though the previous night, his big league career started off with a 'thud', as Granderson went 0-for-4, including a strikeout as well as the game-ending groundout.
For the Twins, Lew Ford had a 2-run Home Run. Augie Ojeda also went 2-for-4 with a solo Home Run, and Jacque Jones added 2 hits to help the cause, as the Twins make a push to clinch the division as soon as possible, now 10.5 games up on 2nd place Chicago.
The Tigers on the other hand have no worries about the playoffs - but rather, they'd just like to close out the season on a good note. It will be interesting to see if Mike Ilitch's recent positive remarks about the 2004 edition of the Tigers have any effect on the team's play over the past few weeks. Certainly, at the very least, it will provide optimism for the organization as it heads into the offseason.
At 64-78, the Tigers are still well within the ability of reaching and surpassing the 70-win plateau. They now start a 3-game series in Cleveland, with Jeremy Bonderman looking to extend his hot streak against Kyle Denney, who will make his big league debut. First pitch is set for 7:05pm at Jacobs Field.