It looked like Scott Diamond was going to be in trouble early in often, and looking at the 2 in the box score for the Tigers in the first inning wouldn't do anything to dissuade you from that perception. But Diamond not only rebounded strongly, but that first inning could have been much worse. One run scored off a Matt Tolbert error. The other came off of a great pitch in a great location, very down and away, that Delmon Young somehow managed to flip into center field.
The big highlight for the Twins today, though, wasn't Diamond. He was very good. Over six innings he allowed just those two runs (one earned), and struck out four while allowing seven hits and four walks. No, the highlight for the Twins today was the defense...which turned five (yes, FIVE) double plays. Victor Martinez grounded into three of them (yes, THREE), lined into a fourth, and of course you couldn't talk about double plays without including Delmon. His was the fifth.
For the Minnesota offense, Joe Benson's second double in as many days was wasted. Again. That came in the second inning, with Benson being the Twins' first base runner. In the fifth, Chris Parmelee became the second by drawing a leadoff walk from Doug Fister. French Resistance Fighter Rene Tosoni would pick up a single that moved Parmelee to second but of course he was stranded there. Joe Mauer walked in the sixth. Stranded. Parmelee singled in the seventh, Benson reached on a fielder's choice and stole second base. Stranded.
By the time the ninth came around, the Twins had managed just three hits and a pair of walks, and were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. To their credit, they did make a run. Mauer led off with a walk and moved to third on a single from Luke Hughes, so that with nobody out the Twins were in business. But Parmelee flew out, not deeply enough to score Mauer, Jason Kubel grounded into a fielder's choice that scored Joe and moved Hughes to second but registered as the second out, and Tosoni was just over-matched by Jose Valverde on a strikeout to end it.
And nobody is surprised.
Notes, studs and duds after the jump.
- Parmelee made a WICKED play at first base on one of those double plays. Off the bag he dove to his left to catch the liner from Martinez, and still on his stomach reached over and tagged first with his glove to double off Miguel Cabrera. I've put the link on our Facebook page, so be sure to check it out.
- Today's 6-7-8-9 batters all finish the day batting under .200: Benson (.167), Tosoni (.173), Tolbert (.199), and Rivera (.152).
- Today's 1-2 and 4 batters finish the day batting under .204: Repko (.229), Plouffe (.231), and Hughes (.237).
- Mauer was 0-for-2 but walked twice today. Parmelee picked up another hit to extend his rookie hitting streak to six games.
- Jim Hoey threw two scoreless innings. It's the first time this season he's logged more than an inning without giving up a run.
- The Tigers went after Diamond by lining him up against nine right-handed hitters. He didn't face a lefty the entire game.
- Diamond stayed away with his off-speed selections, going high and low but was so successful today because of his location. If you split the strike zone into nine sections, his off-speed pitches only touched two zones: straigt away, and down and away. He managed a lot of swings and misses at offerings down and out of the zone.