Twins 5, Angels 0

Scott Diamond was the latest reinforcement summoned by the

Minnesota Twins to stabilize their reeling rotation.

He sure earned another start.

Diamond pitched a career-best seven scoreless innings in his

season debut and Ryan Doumit hit a two-run homer, giving the

Minnesota Twins a much-needed jolt in a 5-0 victory over the Los

Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.

”If you draw a baseball game up, that’s the way you’d do it,”

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Diamond (1-0) struck out six, the most in any of his eight major

league starts, and allowed only four hits. He’s the first Twins

starter to pitch this year without allowing a run. Recalled from

Triple-A Rochester this week to join a starting staff that’s last

in the majors with a 6.45 ERA, the 25-year-old Canadian retired 14

of the last 15 batters he faced.

Diamond got 12 groundball outs, seven to shortstop Brian Dozier,

and walked only one while routinely throwing strike one and

precisely locating his fastball. The Angels were shut out for the

seventh time this season, four more than the Twins.

”The defense was awesome. I wouldn’t have been able to have

gone seven without them,” Diamond said.

Sent down early in spring training, Diamond was told to be ready

to return.

”If something happens in our rotation, you be the guy that’s

throwing the best,” Gardenhire told him.

He was.

”The goal was to work back here. When I got sent down I was a

little discouraged, but I wanted to work hard and get back,”

Diamond said.

Dan Haren (1-3) didn’t even finish the fourth, the shortest of

his seven starts this season after pitching into the seventh inning

in each of his last four appearances. Even more glaring was the

fact that he failed to record a single strikeout, the first time he

started a game and didn’t do that in almost eight years. Only three

of Haren’s 263 career starts have ended without a strikeout.

The Angels, who lost for only the third time in their last nine

games, snapped a streak of 13 straight quality starts – six innings

or more and three runs or less. Their starters have the lowest

collective ERA in the league.

Haren gave up eight hits and five runs with two walks over 3 2-3

innings to a team that totaled only 20 hits over its previous six

games. The Twins finished with 12 hits in all.

”I gave up a bunch of hits to a team that’s really struggling.

That speaks to how I feel right there,” said Haren, who complained

of some lower-back muscle stiffness but said he should be fine.

The Twins, who won for only the third time in 15 games, still

have the worst record in baseball at 8-21. And they’re still last

in the AL by far in home runs, but Doumit padded their paltry total

a little with his first-inning drive into the right-field seats

that followed Josh Willingham’s RBI double.

The last time the Twins scored before their opponent was eight

games ago, on April 29 against Kansas City. This was their first

lead in four games since beating Seattle on Friday.

”We needed a win bad. We needed something to jump-start us,”

Willingham said, adding: ”We’ve been playing from behind a lot and

maybe putting too much pressure on ourselves to get hits and score

runs. It’s a lot better to play ahead.”

Danny Valencia grounded into a bases-loaded double play that

ended the third, but a sacrifice fly by Erik Komatsu and an RBI

single by Dozier stretched the lead to 5-0 in the fourth.

Diamond, who went 1-5 with a 5.08 ERA in seven starts last year

after being brought up, was acquired from the Atlanta Braves before

last season and spent the majority of the year in the minors. But

he was 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA in six starts for the Rochester Red

Wings this season, begging for the pitching-depleted Twins to give

him another promotion.

”You can watch video all you want, but until you get and see a

guy you just don’t know what he’s going to have,” said Angels

second baseman Howie Kendrick. ”You need to get in the batter’s


NOTES: The Twins gave CF Denard Span his first day off this

season, so recent acquisition Komatsu played there and batted

leadoff instead. … Haren’s last strikeout-less start was on June

10, 2004, when he lasted only 3 2-3 innings for the St. Louis

Cardinals. …. Twins RH Jared Burton pitched a perfect eighth,

stretching his hitless streak to 10 1-3 innings. Opponents are in a

0-for-31 skid with 11 strikeouts against him.

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