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