Photo courtesy US Presswire
(Sports Network) - Lefty Scott Diamond can give himself an early birthday present when his Minnesota Twins host the Cleveland Indians to open up a three-game weekend series tonight at Target Field.
The Canadian-born pitcher makes his final start as a 25-year-old in his fourth career meeting with the Indians, three days before he turns 26 on Monday.
He last faced Cleveland on June 3 at Progressive Field and was a 6-3 winner after allowing three unearned runs on seven hits in seven innings.
Diamond has won four of seven decisions since and now has nine victories in 21 major-league appearances since debuting with the Twins against the Indians on July 18 of last year. In 130 combined innings in the big leagues, he's allowed a .292 opposition batting average while walking 32 batters and striking out 69.
Diamond is opposed by Indians righty Josh Tomlin, who aims to end a two-start skid since the All-Star break.
The Texas-born 27-year-old got to 5-5 on the season with a 3-1 defeat of the Tampa Bay Rays in his final pre-break start on July 5, allowing a run on two hits with three strikeouts in seven innings.
He's since been beaten by the Rays and Baltimore on July 17 and 22, respectively, while giving up 15 hits and six runs in 11 2/3 innings.
Tomlin was a 7-4 loser to the Twins in a June 2 game in Cleveland, where he surrendered 10 hits and five runs in six innings.
The Indians come in off a big home win on Thursday, when Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner hit back-to-back homers in a four-run seventh inning and Asdrubal Cabrera singled home the go-ahead run to lead Cleveland to a 5-3 victory over Detroit in the rubber match of a three-game set at Progressive Field.
Jason Kipnis had two hits and drove in two runs for the Indians, who have won three of four overall and seven of nine from Detroit this year.
That season-series success with the Tigers is what's kept Cleveland alive in the American League Central race, and now the Indians trail first-place Chicago by 3 1/2 games instead of Detroit by five if the Tigers would have won Thursday.
Zach McAllister lasted 6 1/3 innings for Cleveland, allowing two earned runs on nine hits and two walks while fanning seven. The vaunted three-headed bullpen monster of Joe Smith (7-2), Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez allowed no runs the rest of the way, with Perez picking up his 29th save.
The Twins return home after being swept in three games by the White Sox in Chicago. In Wednesday's finale, Dayan Viciedo went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run and four RBI as the White Sox came through with an 8-2 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.
Nick Blackburn (4-6) was tagged with the loss for Minnesota after giving up eight runs on 10 hits with a walk and a strikeout over 4 1/3 frames.
Denard Span scored a run on a double-play groundout and Justin Morneau added an RBI double for the Twins, who fell for the fourth time in five tries.
This is the third series between the teams this season. Cleveland swept a two- game set at Minnesota in May and the Twins won two of three in Cleveland in June.
The Indians won the season series in 2011, 11 games to seven.
The Sports Network