Detroit Tigers - 26-26, 3rd in AL Central
Jason Johnson came into the year with many questions surrounding his ability to come out and give the Tigers a chance to win every time he took the mound. He seems to have answered those questions, plus some as Friday night he turned yet another excellent start. Johnson went eight innings, allowing three runs (just one earned) while striking out six. Johnson attempted to go the distance with a 5-1 cushion, but a walk and a single against the first two batters in the ninth ended those hopes, and with Ugueth Urbina unavailable due to pitching five of the last six games, manager Alan Trammell turned to Kyle Farnsworth – and that’s where things got interesting. Sammy Sosa reached first on a slow infield grounder that resulted in a high throw from Tony Giarratano. Dmitri Young appeared to tag Sosa just before he reached base, but was called safe. With the bases loaded, Rafael Palmiero hit a deep drive to the left field corner, but it was hauled in by Rondell White at the warning track. Jay Gibbons singled in another run after a potential game-ending double play became a fielder’s choice when Farnsworth made a poor throw to Giarratano, who couldn’t turn the double play fast enough. But in the end, Farnsworth struck out Chris Gomez to end the threat and conserve a 5-3 victory. The Tigers got a solo home run from Ivan Rodriguez in the fifth inning, then put up four more runs in the 7th inning to provide a big cushion for the pitchers. Rodriguez, Chris Shelton, Giarratano and Brandon Inge each drove in a run apiece. Now back at .500, the Tigers will try and get over that .500 mark with Wilfredo Ledezma facing Rodrigo Lopez at 7:05pm.
- Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
AAA Toledo Mud Hens - 31-21, 2nd in West division
The Mud Hens got an unexpected day off on Friday when their game in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was postponed due to rain. The two teams will make up the game on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m.
- Doug DeSloover, Toledo Correspondent
AA Erie SeaWolves - 30-25, 2nd in Southern division
A combination of Friday (as in Friday night's game) and 13 (the number of hits by Harrisburg) proved unlucky for Erie as the SeaWolves fell 7-2. The Senators took a 1-0 lead in the second and never looked back. Erie starter Nate Cornejo (4-6) took the loss, giving up 11 hits and 5 (earned) runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. Erie had 9 hits, but was only able to manage 2 runs. RF David Espinosa (2 for 5), C Max St. Pierre (2 for 3) and SS Don Kelly (2 for 4)led Erie hitters. The teams meet again in Erie on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.
- Paige Edelman, Erie Correspondent
High-A Lakeland Tigers - 36-18, 1st in West division
Somewhere between Justin Verlander’s heat and Virgil Vasquez’s promotion, everybody forgot about Jordan Tata. But Tata made a statement on Friday night, earning his 5th win of the season, and lowering his ERA to just 1.94. Tata pitched seven shutout innings, giving up five hits, walking three and striking out six for the L-Tigers. Offensively, Garth McKinney had another big game, having just one hit, but that hit was a two run home run. McKinney also took a walk and would later score a run. Jason Knoedler had a hit and scored Lakeland’s other two runs, while Vincent Blue went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Lakeland will look to continue to beat up on the nearby Tampa Yankees when they face them again on Saturday at 6:05pm.
- Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
A West Mich. Whitecaps - 25-30, 5th in East division
The West Michigan defense couldn't hold the Kane County Cougars in check Friday. The 'Caps lost 9-3 to split this series 2-2. West Michigan led the game through seven innings with starter Andrew Kown on the mound. Kown gave up nine hits to the 29 batters he faced but the Cougars only managed to produce one run. What happened next can only be described as a meltdown. Four 'Caps relievers (Tony Peralta (1-2, 7.62), Jay Sborz, Collin Mahoney, Ed Clelland) each spent barely an inning on the mound in their effort to close out the game. Facing a total of 19 Cougars, this quartet gave up seven hits and eight runs. The West Michigan lineup had 10 hits that included two each from 3B Wilkin Ramirez, 1B Jody Roughton, and CF Justin Justice. West Michigan opens a new home series with the Quad City Swing on Saturday. Game time is 7:00 p.m.
- Deb Ziegler, West Michigan Correspondent
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