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Updated: May 13th, 2012 4:15pm
Scott Diamond extends scoreless streak to 14 innings in win over Jays

Scott Diamond extends scoreless streak to 14 innings in win over Jays

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Another spectacular outing by left-hander Scott Diamond paved the way for a 4-3 victory by the Minnesota Twins over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

The skinny

It didn't take Diamond long to become the Twins most reliable starting pitcher.

After throwing seven shutout innings against the Los Angeles Angels last week, Diamond added seven more scoreless frames to the pile on Sunday, striking out four while allowing only five hits.

"The key was getting back down to throwing strikes," Diamond said. "Me and (Drew) Butera worked well. We knew how we wanted to handle these guys. So we just wanted to keep attacking."

Diamond took a line drive off the back of his pitching shoulder in the second inning and had to keep the limb loose for the rest of the game, but it clearly didn't affect his performance in a negative way.

"It got the meat of the shoulder so I was able to laugh it off a little bit. I have a tendency to get hit by a lot of balls. So you might see more this year. But I'm good."

Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero was all over the place for most of his outing, and the Twins finally took advantage with a three-run fifth inning. Romero issued a bases-loaded walk to Josh Willingham, putting the Twins up 2-0, then Ryan Doumit delivered a two-run single to make it 4-0.

Brian Dozier put the Twins in front 1-0 in the third inning with a solo blast into the left-field upper deck -- the first home run of his major league career.

"He left a changeup up in the zone," Dozier said. "I was able to get some good wood on it. I didn't even know it went upper deck until Plouffe told me afterwards. So that was a lot of fun."

Romero lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on nine hits and five walks while striking out nobody.

The Blue Jays made things interesting in the top of the eighth against Jared Burton and Glen Perkins, cutting the Twins lead to 4-3 on an RBI single by Edwin Encarnacion, an RBI groundout by Ben Francisco and a wild pitch from Perkins that plated another run.

Rajai Davis' lead-off single up the middle to start the inning ended Burton's hitless streak at 11 2/3 innings.

Matt Capps converted his seventh save of the season, striking out Kelly Johnson with a split-fingered fastball for the third and final out.

"A very exciting baseball game," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "A nice win for us. Getting two out of four, which is a start. Come back and win a big game after a tough loss last night. Scott Diamond was fantastic."

Turning point

Doumit's bases-loaded single was the big hit the Twins have seemingly been looking for all week, and it allowed Scott Diamond an extra cushion heading into his third trip through the Blue Jays batting order.

"In a lot of our losses we've been that one big hit away," Doumit said. "I know personally I've been guilty of failing to get that big hit in certain situations, so it's nice to kind of redeem myself today."

Numbers game

14: Consecutive scoreless innings for Diamond to start his season -- the third most to start a season by a starting pitcher in Twins history.

8: Walks drawn by Twins hitters.

3: Extra-base hits for Plouffe this season after his one-out double in the seventh. Plouffe took third when the throw from left field rolled across the infield toward first base.

1: Thwarted suicide squeeze attempt -- albeit, not one that was put on by the manager. Butera's bunt in the third inning was scooped by third baseman Brett Lawrie who threw Plouffe out at home. "That wasn't a squeeze play, it was a drag bunt," Gardenhire said. "He drag bunted on his own. He just hit it too hard. He decided to drag bunt, thought the guy was back, the guy moved back in and he just bunted too hard. He should push that ball to first base is kind of what we talked about if you're going to do that."

Health report

• RHP Carl Pavano will make his scheduled start Monday despite having a strained shoulder.

• 1B Justin Morneau (wrist) was expected to continue taking swings in the cage on Sunday. He's eligible to come off the disabled list when the Twins hit the road on Wednesday, but it remains to be seen if he'll play before the end of the week.

• RHP Kyle Waldrop was shut down in late March due to inner elbow discomfort, but he is currently out on a rehab assignment with Single-A Fort Myers. He'll pitch another three or four one-inning outings, and if all goes well he'll likely join the Rochester Red Wings.

On deck

Monday: vs. Indians, 7:10 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (2-3, 5.02) vs. RHP Jeanmar Gomez (2-2, 4.66)
Tuesday: vs. Indians, 12:10 p.m. RHP Jason Marquis (2-2, 6.26) vs. RHP Derek Lowe (5-1, 2.47)

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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