Fifth frame continues to be Scott Diamond’s downfall

Scott Diamond seemed to have figured things out during his last start against the New York Yankees. He didn’t earn a win, but he allowed just two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. More importantly, he avoided a blowup in the fifth inning in that game.

One start later, Diamond’s fifth inning woes made a resurgence. The Minnesota Twins left-hander surrendered four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning Sunday in Toronto as the Blue Jays ran away with an 11-5 win over the Canada native Diamond and the Twins.

Entering Sunday, Diamond had allowed 17 earned runs in the fifth inning, more than any inning this season. He added to that with a four spot in the fifth on Sunday to raise his season ERA in the fifth inning to 13.83 — higher than any other inning.

Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks tied the game with a two-run homer — Minnesota’s first hit of the game — in the top of the fifth inning. But Diamond gave that lead right back when Jose Reyes led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo homer.

“He kind of unraveled from there,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Diamond.

After walking Edwin Encarnacion with one out and allowing a two-out single to Mark DeRosa, Diamond served up his third home run of the day when Rajai Davis homered to left for a three-run blast.

Gardenhire left Diamond in for one more batter, and the left-hander walked Colby Rasmus. That would be the end of Diamond’s day after just 4 2/3 innings. He exited the game with his team in a 6-2 deficit, one from which the Twins could not recover. 

“He just couldn’t make a pitch after the (leadoff) home run,” Gardenhire said. “Maybe he let that home run leading off the bottom of the (fifth) get to him.”

Diamond was the Twins’ most consistent starter last year as he went 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA in 27 starts. Including Sunday’s loss, he now falls to 5-8 on the year. His ERA also jumped to 5.52.

Including the two homers in the fifth and a two-run shot by Rasmus in the fourth, Diamond served up three home runs in a span of nine batters. It’s the second time this year he has allowed three homers in a game — something he didn’t do at all in 27 starts last year. Over his last four starts, Diamond has surrendered a total of eight home runs.

“We’re talking about getting the ball down and keeping the ball in the infield, and everything’s up,” Gardenhire said. “They made us pay today. They put some really nice swings out there. They had some great at-bats.”

This was the second time in his career that Diamond pitched in Toronto, which is about an hour from his hometown of Guelph, Ontario. He is still winless at Rogers Centre, falling to 0-2 in his native country.

After the game, Gardenhire was asked about Diamond’s place in the starting rotation. Minnesota has several options of pitchers who could be called up from Triple-A Rochester, but the Twins skipper gave Diamond a vote of confidence. The left-hander’s next scheduled start is Friday against the Yankees in New York.

“He’ll be out there the next time unless somebody tells me differently,” Gardenhire said.

FOX Sports North’s Kevin Gorg contributed to this report.

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