Strong start by Diamond goes to waste as Twins lose series finale
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Chicago White Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza's RBI single, which ricocheted off the leg of Minnesota Twins starter Scott Diamond in the eighth inning, held up as the winning hit as the Twins lost their bid at their second straight series win on Wednesday, 3-2.
De Aza's hit not only spoiled another strong start by Diamond but also knocked the left-handed pitcher out of the game. Jared Burton, who was just beginning to warm-up in the bullpen, was brought in to replace him. Diamond was in good spirits afterwards, remarking that the errant hit didn't cause any additional damage to his leg other than a stinging bruise on inner-right thigh.
"It was pretty much time for him to come out of the ballgame anyway, more precautionary than anything else," manager Ron Gardenhire said about his decision to pull Diamond. "He should be fine, but he got it pretty good inside the top of the knee and it ricocheted off the other one. Pretty good shot."
Diamond was out-dueled by his White Sox counterpart Jake Peavy. Peavy kept the Twins' batters frustrated and out-of-sync throughout the afternoon, allowing only two runs, one earned, off five hits in eight innings of work.
Apart from a limited spattering of production lapses, Diamond has continued to be a consistent bright spot in an otherwise dreary Twins season. Diamond put together a quality start Wednesday, but was not without his missteps.
In his first start since his three-hit, complete game shutout last Friday, Diamond surrendered a run early on. De Aza lined a lead-off single in the first inning and eventually scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Adam Dunn. However, De Aza's hit didn't rattle Diamond. Backed by a pair double plays, he faced the minimum number of batters until the fifth inning when a pair of singles led to the White Sox's second run.
Diamond ran into trouble again in the eighth inning. Tyler Flowers worked his way to third after starting off with a single and scored on Aza's infield hit.
The Twins' only scoring came in the first two innings. A double by Ben Revere was converted into the tying run in the first inning. Third baseman Danny Valencia, five days removed from being recalled from Triple-A Rochester, followed up in the next frame with a home run launched deep into the left field bleachers.
With the offense stymied by Peavy, the White Sox's eighth inning rally was enough to doom the Twins. A wild pitch by Diamond moved Flowers to second. Flowers advanced to third on a ground out by Orlando Hudson. A batter later, Diamond was able to field De Aza's hit after it bounced off his leg, but his throw to Mauer at home wasn't quick enough to prevent Flowers from scoring.
"It caught me a little off-guard. It affected my footing more so than anything else," Diamond said. "I looked up and saw Flowers half way to home anyways, so I knew he was going to keep going there and I kind of rushed the throw a little bit."
The Twins put a runner on third in the eighth and ninth innings but squandered both chances at notching the tying run. They finished the day 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
7: Consecutive series losses for Twins against the White Sox.
1.29: Peavy's ERA (14 IP, 2 ER) in his last two starts against the Twins.
18-19: Twins' record in one-run games this season.
15: Game hitting streak compiled by Ben Revere -- a career-high. He has put up a .354 average (22-for-62), five doubles and 11 runs scored in that span.
50: RBIs for Joe Mauer this season after his ground out to first baseman Adam Dunn in the first inning allowed Ben Revere to score from third. Mauer is second on the team in RBIs behind Josh Willingham (79).
3B Trevor Plouffe (bruised thumb) is eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 5, and as of Wednesday his status remains day-to-day as far as when he'll start swinging again. Plouffe did not undergo an MRI, nor did he receive a cortisone shot. Trainers believe he will be back in the lineup soon.
RHP Carl Pavano (shoulder) was tentatively scheduled to throw 40 pitches in a Gulf Coast League game Friday, but that schedule has been pushed back. "Pavano has pushed his official rehab back," general manager Terry Ryan said Tuesday. "He's going to throw (batting practice) here this week. He's not quite ready to pitch in a game. We're going to move him back some. He's going to throw live BP on Friday. He doesn't feel strong enough to want to go and pitch in a game."
RHP Alex Wimmers, a former first-round draft pick, is scheduled to travel to Minnesota in the next few days to have his throwing elbow re-examined. After being sidelined for the first half the year with a partially torn UCL, Wimmers returned to the field last week with the Twins' Gulf Coast League squad, but his stint was short-lived as the pain in his elbow flared up again. Tommy John surgery remains a possibility for Wimmers.
Thursday: @ Boston Red Sox, 6:10 p.m. RHP Samuel Deduno (2-0, 3.13) vs. LHP Jon Lester (5-8, 5.49).
Friday: @ Boston Red Sox, 6:10 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (2-6, 4.53) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.37).
Saturday: @ Boston Red Sox, 6:10 p.m. RHP Cole De Vries (2-2, 3.98) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (9-3, 4.75).