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Updated: July 27th, 2012 9:38pm
Scott Diamond blanks Indians, credits his success to Carl Pavano

Scott Diamond blanks Indians, credits his success to Carl Pavano

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- In a season where Minnesota Twins starters have been historically awful, Scott Diamond continued to shine with a complete-game, 11-0 shutout of the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.

The skinny

The Twins don't have much to celebrate these days, but Diamond continued his run as the team's most reliable pitcher with his best performance of the season.

To go along with his first-career shutout, Diamond struck out six, walked nobody and allowed only three hits while throwing just 98 pitches.

Friday marked the fifth time this season Diamond has completed at least six innings while holding an opponent scoreless. He had previously allowed nine earned runs combined over his last two starts (12 innings).

"I'm just trying to be consistent," said Diamond, who lowered his ERA to 2.88 on the season. "I feel like my approach right now is as simple as it can be, and because of that I feel like I'm pretty consistent. I'm just trying to throw strikes and work down in the zone, and it worked tonight."

Behind the scenes, Diamond has talked quite a bit about how veteran right-hander Carl Pavano has helped teach him how to pitch deeper into games.

"I owe it all to him," Diamond said. "He's really helped me get to a mental state that's really helped me through the games, especially when I'm in trouble -- just focusing on what can get me out of the inning."

Shortstop Brian Dozier made a number of exciting plays in the field to help preserve the shutout. Alexi Casilla made an incredible diving stop going to his left in the seventh inning.

"That was unbelievable," Gardenhire said of Casilla's play, adding, "Dozier made a couple of backhanders out there and another turnaround in the middle, made it look easy. He used the field rather than try to throw it in the air, used the field and bounced it the ball over there, which you have to do when you're off-balance and don't have your feet set-up right."

Justin Morneau opened the Twins' offensive barrage with a two-out, three-run homer off Josh Tomlin in the top of the first inning -- a 421-foot shot that reached the plaza beyond the right-field overhang.

Josh Willingham added a two-out, three-run bomb in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Joe Mauer finished 3-for-5 with three singles, two RBIs and three runs scored to raise his batting line to .332/.422/.454. Denard Span reached base four times in five trips, stole a base and scored three runs.

Every Twins starter had at least one hit.

The Twins knocked Tomlin out of the game after just four innings. He was charged with eight earned runs on 10 hits, striking out two and walking nobody. Tomlin entered the game with a 5.34 ERA and left with a 5.87 mark.

Turning point

Two-out, three-run homers by Morneau and Willingham were the difference between a blow-out and Tomlin getting out of tough jams.

"If we could play like that every day we'd be alright," Morneau said.

Numbers game

26: Home runs for Willingham.

12: Home runs for Morneau. "It's coming along," Morneau said about the state of his swing. "It's been a process, and it's been a lot of hard work. It's hard to say you're ever satisfied with everything, but if feels a lot better than it did opening day, and at the end of April and end of May. It feels like it's continued to progress."

5: Hitters with more walks than strikeouts this season -- Mauer, Joey Votto, David Ortiz, Ben Zobrist and Carlos Lee.

.354: Span's on-base percentage.

19: The number of times the Twins reached base via hit or walk.

Health report

• 3B Trevor Plouffe was scratched from the lineup with more thumb soreness. He was placed on the disabled list and Danny Valencia was recalled from Triple-A Rochester.

Carl Pavano is down in Fort Myers continuing his rehab process. The Twins hope to have him back sometime in August.

On deck

Saturday: vs. Indians, 6:10 p.m. RHP Sam Deduno (1-0, 3.94) vs. RHP Justin Masterson (7-8, 4.12).
Sunday: vs. Indians, 1:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (3-10, 5.31) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9, 4.97).

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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