DETROIT (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins have played enough games at
Comerica Park to know just how tough it is to hit home runs there.
So even they were surprised when they set a stadium record with
six homers, including two by light-hitting catcher Henry Blanco,
while handing the Detroit Tigers their first loss of the season,
"The ball was really jumping out there today," Twins manager
Ron Gardenhire said. "They've made some adjustments to this park,
and the ball carries better than it used to, but days like this are
still pretty unusual. Those weren't cheapies we were hitting,
"I don't know what was going on out there," said Ford, called
up from the minors Friday to replace injured center fielder Torii
Hunter. "My head is still kind of spinning, but that was fun."
The Tigers, who opened last season 0-9 and lost an AL-record 119
games, had been the last unbeaten team in the majors at 4-0.
Blanco, who entered 2004 with a .219 career batting average and
27 homers in six major league seasons, homered in the second and
ninth for his first two hits of the year.
"The ball was flying pretty good today," said Blanco, who also
hit two homers on July 22, 1999, for Colorado at Los Angeles. "I
hit a couple flyballs and they went out."
The defensive specialist is playing every day only because
rookie starter Joe Mauer and regular backup Matthew LeCroy are
It was the first time the Twins have hit six homers in a game
since they had seven on July 12, 2001, at Milwaukee.
The previous record for home runs in a game at spacious Comerica
Park was five, set by Boston on April 19, 2000, the year the park
The Tigers were missing manager Alan Trammell, who was serving a
one-game suspension for beanballs during a spring training game
against Philadelphia on March 29. Bench coach Kirk Gibson ran the
team in his place.
"We gave up 10 runs, so we obviously didn't pitch well," said
Trammell, who watched the game from team president Dave
Dombrowski's box. "We were swinging the bat well enough to have
some opportunities, though."
Radke (1-0) improved his career record against Detroit to 16-4,
allowing five runs on nine hits and a walk in five innings. He
struck out six. Five Twins relievers combined for four scoreless
innings to finish it.
Jason Johnson (1-1) lost to the Twins for the first time in six
career decisions, lasting just 2 1-3 innings. He gave up six runs
on seven hits, including three homers.
"You can't be undefeated against a team forever," he said. "I
just could not get the ball down -- everything was high in the zone.
I just have to put this behind me and try to get them the next
Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the second when Ford singled and
scored on Blanco's two-out homer, then added four more runs on
two-run homers by Rivas and Koskie in the third.
Two defensive mistakes by Twins right fielder Jacque Jones
helped Detroit pull to 6-5 in the fourth. He lost Carlos Pena's
flyball that turned into a triple, and after singles by Bobby
Higginson and Monroe, Eric Munson hit a two-run double over Jones'
"I thought I threw the ball pretty well," Radke said. "Jacque
and I talked about it, and I told him to turn the page. It's a long
season, and things like that are going to happen."
Offerman and Ford hit solo homers to make it 8-5 in the fifth,
and Higginson lined out with the bases loaded to end the bottom of
Blanco hit his second homer in the ninth, and Shannon Stewart
added an RBI single.
Tigers pitcher Nate Cornejo was suspended for five games
for the same beanball trouble as Trammell. Cornejo's next start
will be moved back to next Friday in Cleveland, while Nate
Robertson will start Wednesday's home game against the Blue Jays.
... Ford started in center field and hit seventh. He had three
hits. ... Home runs by Blanco, Rivas and Monroe all cleared the
shorter fence in left field but fell short of the original fence --
the first time since the new fence was put up before last season
that there have been three such homers in a game.