American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, July 21st
(All times Eastern)
Minnesota Twins (39-54) at Kansas City Royals (39-53), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Minnesota - Scott Diamond (8-3, 2.96)
Kansas City - Luis Mendoza (3-6, 4.32)
(Sports Network) - Scott Diamond attempts to continue his impressive rookie
season on Saturday night when the Minnesota Twins face off against the Kansas
City Royals in the second game of a weekend set.
The 25-year-old left-hander has been one of the few bright spots for the Twins
rotation, going 8-3 with a 2.96 ERA.
Diamond struggled in his last start, allowing nine hits and five earned runs
on July 16 to Baltimore, but his team gave him more than enough run support as
he earned the win in a 19-7 blowout.
The southpaw had one of his best games against the Royals on June 30, earning
the win after pitching eight innings and allowing just two earned runs.
Luis Mendoza will take the hill for the Royals and is 3-6 with a 4.32 ERA on
the season, splitting time between the bullpen and the rotation.
After struggling in the beginning of the season, the right-hander has pitched
much better of late. He has a 3.19 ERA over 42 2/3 innings in June and July,
though he has just one win to show for it.
Minnesota gained the upper hand in the series by taking a hard-earned bout on
Friday night, 2-1 in 11 innings.
The Twins got the action started in the top of the first inning with a Darin
Mastroianni home run. The bats fell silent until the top of the 11th when
Josh Willingham singled home Joe Mauer for the game-winning run.
Nick Blackburn started for Minnesota and put together one of his best games of
the year, allowing just one earned run in 6 2/3 innings.
"I just finally put it all together," said Blackburn, who was demoted to the
minors on July 4 before being recalled for Friday's game. "I was missing a lot
of spots, but with movement as opposed to just floating it in there. One
mistake hurt me tonight. Other than that I was pretty pleased with it."
Casey Fien (1-0) pitched two perfect innings in the 9th and 10th to earn the
win. Glen Perkins shut the door in the bottom of the 11th for his fifth save.
Mastroianni also tripled for the Twins, while Mauer chipped in three hits from
the three-hole in the order. The former batting champion is now hitting .334
on the season.
Luke Hochevar kept the Royals in the game with a seven-inning, five-hit, six-
strike out, one-earned run performance. Jonathon Broxton (1-2) was saddled
with the loss after going an entire week without pitching in game action.
Yuniesky Betancourt produced the only run for Kansas City with an RBI double
in the seventh inning.
The Royals are now losers of eight of their last 10 games.
The Twins won six of the first nine games between the teams in 2012, across
three series. Kansas City has not won the season series since 2003.
07/21 10:31:55 ET