Twins Friday: Scott Diamond trumped by heart of Tigers' lineup

Scott Diamond endured some tough luck Friday, but Trevor Plouffe's fortunes are improving.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Diamond talked Thursday about the best approach to facing Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera. Diamond acknowledged that no matter how much he prepared for Cabrera, the Tigers third baseman would still get his hits.

Diamond actually held Cabrera hitless on Friday in his start against the Tigers at Target Field. The only problem: the rest of Detroit's lineup is pretty formidable, too.

Diamond intentionally walked Cabrera with two outs in the sixth inning and the Tigers made him pay. Detroit went on to score four runs after the walk to Cabrera, which was enough to earn a 4-0 win in Friday's series opener.

"They're pretty good," Diamond said of the Tigers' lineup, which boasts the top batting average in baseball. "I feel like I've faced them well in the past. Just the way that it all played out tonight was really frustrating."

Following his intentional walk to Cabrera, Diamond gave up back-to-back-to-back doubles to Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta before getting the hook with two outs. Fielder's double was the back-breaker as it scored Austin Jackson from second and Cabrera from first.

Entering Friday's game, Cabrera was 10-for-19 against Diamond, with a home run and six RBI. Fielder, meanwhile, was just 1-for-14 with four strikeouts against Diamond. The Twins took their chances by playing the numbers.

This time, however, it didn't work out. Diamond fell behind Fielder 2-0, and the Tigers first baseman smashed the next pitch he saw off the wall in right.

"Historically, I've been pretty successful against Fielder," Diamond said. "I thought it was a good pitch. I think earlier in the game I had a chance to kind of buzz him or get him off the plate and I didn't take advantage of it. I think it kind of cost me in that at-bat that kind of let the flood gates open in the sixth."

Twins right fielder Ryan Doumit played Fielder's double off the wall and fired the relay to the infield. Minnesota never made a play on Cabrera at the plate, though, and the inning continued.

"After the double off the wall, we had a chance," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I don't think Cabrera should have scored on that ball. We didn't make a relay play right there. ... Obviously we didn't get the ball in the right hands in the infield. Kind of an errant throw from the outfield that got us twisted a little bit and he was able to score on that one."

Following Fielder's two-run double, Diamond surrendered an RBI double to Martinez that found the gap in left-center and scored Fielder. Peralta then jumped on the first pitch from Diamond for the Tigers' third consecutive double of the inning. This one scored Martinez from second to give Detroit what proved to be an insurmountable 4-0 lead.

With Friday's loss, Diamond is now 1-5 with a 6.40 ERA in six starts at Target Field this year. On this night, Cabrera wasn't a thorn in Diamond's side. Instead, it was the rest of the Tigers' deep lineup.

"I can't let that inning blow up like it did," Diamond said. "Three straight doubles doesn't help. It's just frustrating to have it all happen in one inning."

Plouffe up, Herrmann down: Following Friday's game, the Twins activated third baseman Trevor Plouffe from the 15-day disabled list and optioned catcher Chris Herrmann to Triple-A Rochester.

Plouffe has been out with a strained left calf since May 29 and recently made a rehab assignment in Rochester. In four games with the Red Wings, Plouffe was 5-for-15 with a home run and three RBI.

"See you tomorrow MN!" Plouffe tweeted Friday night. "Happy Birthday to me."

Before his calf injury, Plouffe spent time on the 7-day concussion disabled list. His last game with the Twins came way back on May 21. In 37 games with Minnesota this season, Plouffe is batting .254 with four homers and 17 RBI.

Thielbar's scoreless streak continues: One bright spot in Friday's game was left-handed rookie reliever Caleb Thielbar, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning for Minnesota. Thielbar, a Randolph, Minn., native, issued a one-out walk to Peralta but otherwise kept the Tigers at bay in the ninth.

With Friday's scoreless inning, the 26-year-old Thielbar has yet to allow a run during his young 10-game major league career. He's now gone 11 2/3 innings without allowing a run, and opponents have just five hits against Thielbar during that span.

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