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Twins’ bats come up short in nightcap

July 18, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS — It was a long day on Monday for Scott Diamond. But that did not stop the Twins’ left-hander from enjoying it.

Diamond gave the Twins just about all they could have asked for on Monday night in his Major League debut. Unfortunately for Diamond and the Twins, the offense could not get anything going in a 6-3 loss to the Indians in the nightcap of a doubleheader.

“It’s been a fun experience, and I really had some fun with these guys today,” Diamond said. “I thought it was pretty good. I was able to challenge a lot of hitters and keep them off balance for the most part. I gave up a couple big hits, but for the most part I’m pretty satisfied with it.”

Pitching for the first time in 12 days, Diamond went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits, with a strikeout and two walks. He held the Indians without a hit for the first two innings, and kept them off the scoreboard until the fifth.

When he exited in the seventh, Diamond got a huge ovation from the crowd at Target Field.

“It was unbelievable,” Diamond said. “It’s what every kid dreams of, especially being my Major League debut, it was really exciting. It’s awesome to have that kind of crowd here.”

Before he let Diamond walk back to the dugout, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made sure to tell Diamond to take in the moment.

“I said, ‘You did a heck of a job, enjoy this. These people are going to be cheering for you when you walk off. You’ll never forget this moment,'” Gardenhire said.

It would have come as no surprise if Diamond showed some nerves early in the game, with it being his big league debut.

But Diamond said the nerves subsided once he warmed up in the bullpen, and he looked very comfortable, as he retired the first six batters he faced with five groundouts and a flyout.

“I thought he was great. I know he had some nerves running. We’ve all been there,” said Twins catcher Joe Mauer. “I was impressed with him throwing his breaking pitches for strikes. He threw the ball well, and some good pitches, but they had a couple balls off the bat and things like that. But that’s what good teams do to win. I thought he pitched great.”

After the Twins took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI single by Mauer, the Indians answered with a pair of two-out runs in the fifth, as they strung together a double, a walk and two singles.

Mauer went 3-for-4 in the game, matching his 3-for-4 performance in the first game of the doubleheader. The six-hit day improved his batting average thirty points, raising it to .290.

“I was just trying to keep it simple and not do too much,” Mauer said. “On days like this, with the heat and things like that, you get a little more fatigued and you maybe stay within yourself a little bit. It was good to get a couple hits and get on base, but I’d rather take some wins.”

Right-hander Fausto Carmona picked up his fifth win of the season for the Indians, as he pitched for the first time since July 2, after going on the disabled list with a strained right quad.

Carmona gave up just two runs on seven hits, with a strikeout and a hit batter to secure his first win since June 15.

The Twins lost consecutive games for the first time since losing six in a row from June 22-27. They also dropped back to seven games behind the first-place Indians.

“From now on, just about every series against our division is important for them and for us,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “We know that those guys are in it, and they’re going to be in it. The title runs through Minnesota. They’ve been the best team in our division over the past few years, and they won it last year.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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