Twins 10, Mariners 0
The Twins have rediscovered the grit they generally lacked while losing a combined 195 games in 2011 and 2012.
Scott Diamond pitched six shutout innings and Josh Willingham hit one of Minnesota's four home runs as the Twins beat the Seattle Mariners 10-0 Sunday, their seventh victory in nine games since dropping 10 straight in mid-May. In the last of those losses, the Twins were one-hit by Anibal Sanchez in a 6-0 loss at Detroit.
Only Joe Mauer's one-out single in the ninth saved the Twins from being no-hit in that May 24 loss, the kind that could have crushed a rebuilding team's spirit.
''Everybody was like, `We've got to do something, something to stop the bleeding,''' said infielder Brian Dozier, who went 3 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs Sunday as the Twins won a three-game series.
Though still four games under .500 and fourth in the American League Central, the Twins at least have shown some resilience and given fans a reason to keep paying attention. And now they head into a six-game road trip through Kansas City and Washington believing they could return with a winning record.
''We could come back above .500, but our goal is well above that,'' Dozier said. ''We've got a good team.''
Dozier, Willingham, Chris Herrmann and Ryan Doumit each homered for the Twins, who also hit four homers in an 8-6 victory over Milwaukee last Thursday. Jeremy Bonderman (0-1) gave up three of them, hit hard in his first major league start since Oct. 1, 2010, with Detroit.
Diamond (4-4) won his first decision since throwing seven scoreless innings May 7 at Boston, a string of four starts. He gave up three first-inning hits but was nearly flawless afterward, allowing only two base runners - a single and a walk - and facing one batter over the minimum. He struck out three.
Bonderman struck out leadoff hitter Eduardo Escobar as part of a 1-2-3 first inning. From there it was all downhill, starting with Ryan Doumit's opposite-field homer to left to start the second. Bonderman was pulled after Chris Herrmann's sharp two-out single in the fifth, an inning that started with a walk to Joe Mauer and home run by Josh Willingham that put the Twins up 7-0.
''It was a lot of fun to walk out there and get back on the field,'' Bonderman said. ''It's fun to be out there, but you got to pitch better than that.''
Bonderman was charged with seven earned runs on nine hits, three of them home runs, and a walk in 4 2-3 innings. He threw 87 pitches, 53 for strikes. Sidelined by shoulder (2011) and elbow (2012) injuries before signing a minor league deal with Seattle on Jan. 9, he had made 11 starts at Triple-A Tacoma, going 2-4 with a 4.52 ERA before Sunday.
It was the seventh time this season Seattle has allowed an opponent to score in double digits.
Herrmann, a rookie catcher called up from Triple-A Rochester on May 27, went 2 for 3 with an RBI and run scored and his first major league home run. Dozier was 3 for 4 with a run-scoring double and solo home run in the seventh.
''It's a dream come true,'' said Herrmann, who already had the home run ball in his locker. ''Everybody dreams of hitting a major league home run.''
NOTES: The Mariners made a pair of roster moves to clear space on the 40-man roster for Bonderman, placing Justin Smoak (right oblique) on the 15-day disabled list and designating minor leaguer Vinnie Catricala, who was at Double-A Jackson, for assignment. ... The Twins optioned infielder Chris Colabello to Triple-A Rochester after the game. The team will make a corresponding roster move before Tuesday night's game at Kansas City. ... Twins 1B Justin Morneau missed his second straight game because of the stomach flu. ... Seattle OF/IF Michael Morse missed his fourth straight game since leaving in the fifth inning May 29 at San Diego with a right quad strain. ...''I `m hoping to get him out at first base early to midweek,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ''Start out there first, then go back to the outfield.''