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Johnson's adjustments in between starts pay dividends

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CHICAGO -- Even beyond Erik Johnson's career-high nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in Tuesday's no-decision, the right-hander looked like a different pitcher.

"It just came out of his hand. Last night, it was crisper," said manager Robin Ventura of Johnson. "It looked like he had some zip on it with a good curveball when he needed it, movement when he needed it, and to hit the corners. That stuff is always is important just for his own mindset."

Johnson made some small mechanical changes in his windup and out of the stretch that he employed Tuesday. He picked those up through a few video sessions with pitching coach Don Cooper in between starts.

"You try to get better each time you work," Johnson said. "That's why you have those four days in between your starts, so you can really use those four days to your advantage. Being a starter, you are lucky to do that."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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