Diamond struggles again as Orioles blank Twins
MINNEAPOLIS — Even when the sun is shining and the crowd is in a festive mood, Target Field is just no place to be for Scott Diamond.
The Minnesota lefty is 3-0 in his trio of road starts this season, but fell to 0-3 at home on Sunday after Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Steve Pearce homered for the Baltimore Orioles in a 6-0 victory.
“I got eaten alive out there today,” Diamond said.
Diamond (3-3) was looking for his fifth straight quality start. But he struggled through 5 2-3 innings, allowing nine hits and tying a career high by giving up six earned runs.
“I felt good in the ‘pen. I felt like everything was down and I was locating. Then when I got out on the mound, the first two batters got decent hits off me. I know I’m not going to be at my best every game, so I’m just trying to make adjustments. It just wasn’t clicking for me. So this game’s more of a write-off.”
Nick Markakis and Manny Machado began the game with singles and after Jones grounded into a double play, Davis unloaded a 442-foot shot to straightaway center field. His 11th homer made it 2-0.
Wei-Yin Chen pitched five strong innings before leaving with a strained right oblique, and the Orioles won for the sixth time in eight games.
Chen (3-3) was breezing through the Twins lineup, allowing no runs and five hits while striking out three in five innings. He has allowed no more than three runs in seven of his eight starts this year.
Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day, Brian Matusz and Pedro Strop combined for four innings of three-hit relief for Baltimore.
“Scotty was basically up, couldn’t get the ball down,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They jumped him early in the count and never let him get into any kind of pattern, and every time he got one up they seemed to make him pay for it.”
Chris Snyder had an RBI single in the second, but ended the inning when he was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a double by Markakis.
Markakis went 2 for 4 and is hitting .519 (27 for 52) against Minnesota since the start of last season. It is the highest average by any major league hitter with at least 40 plate appearances against any opponent in that span.
“We’ve been swinging the bats well the last few days, and it feels good to win a game by a pretty good margin,” Davis said. “It takes a little bit of pressure off the bullpen and really lets us enjoy the win.”
Markakis also had an outfield assist in the second, throwing out Justin Morneau, who tried to stretch a single into right into a double.
Jones lined a solo home run to left in the third, with the ball ricocheting off a railing just over the wall and up into the second deck.
Baltimore loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but could only push across one run — on Davis’ groundout — to make it 5-0. Pearce hit a solo homer in the sixth.
“It’s just one of those games. It happens,” said Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who went 0 for 4. “Through a 162-game season, you’re going to have one of those games where you don’t get runners on board and you dont score them.”
Four times in the first five innings, Minnesota’s leadoff man singled, but the Twins failed to score. Brian Dozier was caught stealing, Morneau was thrown out by Markakis, Joe Mauer was stranded at first and Plouffe stuck at second.
Notes: Minnesota was shut out for the second time this season. ... The Twins have allowed 37 first-inning runs, more than double any other inning total. ... Twins SS Pedro Florimon missed his third straight game with a tight right hamstring. ... Minnesota’s Pedro Hernandez (1-0) is scheduled to face Chicago’s Hector Santiago (1-1) when the Twins and White Sox start a three-game series Monday in Minnesota. ... Baltimore’s Chris Tillman (3-1) is scheduled to get the ball Tuesday when the Orioles welcome San Diego to Camden Yards. Andrew Cashner (2-2) is the Padres’ scheduled starter.