Twins-Blue Jays Preview
The Minnesota Twins haven't won a series north of the border in eight seasons.
That can change Sunday when Ontario native Scott Diamond gets the ball for the Twins in the finale against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Losers of 16 of 20 to the Blue Jays and eight of nine at Toronto following Friday's 4-0 defeat, the Twins won 6-0 on Saturday. Leadoff man Brian Dozier hit a three-run homer and had a career-best four RBIs for Minnesota (37-47), which had dropped six straight and 11 of 14.
"We've been pressing lately and that's no way to play," right fielder Chris Parmelee said after finishing with two doubles and a walk.
The Twins, 1-1 on a 10-game trip that leads into the All-Star break, give the ball to Diamond (5-7, 5.18 ERA) as they go for their first series win in Toronto since taking two of three from May 27-29, 2005.
Diamond is 0-2 with a 7.65 ERA in his last four road starts since posting a 1.42 ERA while winning his first three, yet he's coming off an encouraging outing at home. The left-hander did not get a decision in his longest outing since May 7, throwing 6 2-3 innings and allowing three runs - two earned - in Monday's 10-4 loss to New York Yankees.
"I'm happy with the improvement personally, but we lost," said Diamond, 1-3 with a 7.40 ERA in his previous four appearances.
Diamond, born about 50 miles west of Toronto in Guelph, Ontario, will face the Blue Jays (42-45) for the third time and second at Rogers Centre. He's allowed two runs in 12 innings against them but lost at Toronto on Oct. 3 in a 2-1, season-ending defeat.
The Blue Jays are expected to counter with Todd Redmond (0-1, 3.52), though there's been talk that the club would call up Marcus Stroman from Double-A New Hampshire. Toronto has a spot open in the rotation after Chien-Ming Wang cleared waivers Friday and was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo.
Redmond was called up from Buffalo on Wednesday and threw three scoreless innings that night in a 6-2 loss to Detroit. Sunday will mark his fifth big league appearance and first start for Toronto.
The right-hander's only other start was a loss while with Cincinnati on Aug. 18, giving up four runs in 3 1-3 innings of a 9-7 defeat to the Chicago Cubs.
A better offensive performance by the Blue Jays could help Redmond in his first appearance against Minnesota. Toronto, loser of nine of 13 since a franchise record-tying 11-game win streak, was held to four singles Saturday - three by Maicer Izturis - while getting shut out at home for the first time since May 3.
Jose Reyes had his team-best eight-game winning streak snapped, but he's batting .346 in six games at Rogers Centre since missing more than two months with a severely sprained left ankle.
Minnesota's Justin Morneau, a Canada native, is 0 for 8 in this series and batting .189 in 25 visits to Toronto.
Dozier went 2 for 4 in each of the last two games and has a team-best nine hits and seven RBIs this month.
He could be joined in the lineup by Clete Thomas, who may start if rookie outfielder Oswaldo Arcia can't play after getting hit by a pitch Saturday and leaving with a bruised right hand.