Interleague Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, June 14th
(All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Phillies (30-34) at Minnesota Twins (25-36), 8:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Joe Blanton (5-6, 5.40)
Minnesota - Scott Diamond (5-1, 1.61)
(Sports Network) - Scott Diamond aims to keep his home record this season
perfect with a third straight victory tonight when the Minnesota Twins close
out a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Fans at Target Field have been treated to a first-hand view of Diamond's
rising stock this season as the 25-year-old is 3-0 with a 1.03 earned run
average in four home starts. Three of his seven starts in 2011 -- the first of
his career -- came at home, but Diamond was 0-3 with a 4.58 ERA in that span.
Diamond has turned things around this season, going 5-1 with a 1.61 ERA
through seven overall starts to lead the team in wins. He hasn't allowed a run
in consecutive wins over the Indians and Cubs, spanning 13 innings.
The left-hander was charged with three unearned runs over seven frames to win
at Cleveland on June 3, then pitched six scoreless frames six days later to
best Chicago. He scattered seven hits and did not walk a batter while striking
out five in the 11-3 win.
Diamond noted afterwards that the run support helped his outing.
"It's a lot easier, that's for sure," Diamond told Minnesota's website. "You
can attack early and you don't have to locate as well. I was still trying to
just keep the game moving because those innings were pretty long."
Diamond will face the Phillies for the first time in his career tonight and
will be opposed by the struggling Joe Blanton, who has pitched to a 9.91 ERA
over his last four starts while going 1-3 and giving up 11 homers in 26 1/3
Blanton did manage to snap a three-decision slide with a win at Baltimore on
Friday despite giving up five runs over 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander did
strike out seven in the 9-6 win.
"The way things have been going for me right now, I don't even think about
[run support]," admitted Blanton, who moved to 5-6 with a 5.40 ERA in 13 games
this season. "I'm just trying to survive out there with the way it's going
mechanically and everything."
The 31-year-old is 4-4 with a 4.45 ERA in eight career meetings with the
These clubs have combined to plate 35 runs over the first two games of this
series, with the Twins picking up an 11-7 victory in Tuesday's opener before
the Phillies countered with last night's 9-8 win.
John Mayberry Jr. hit a three-run homer as part of the Phillies' six-run first
inning and Jim Thome later added a mammoth two-run homer as part of a four-RBI
night. Philadelphia won for just the second time in 11 games.
"Baseball is an up-and-down game," Thome said of the Phillies' recent bad
play. "Any time you get a 'W,' you want to stretch that out and that's where
we're at. We're not trying to look too much ahead."
Josh Willingham laced a solo home run among his two RBI to extend his hitting
streak to 15 games for Minnesota, which only lost for the fourth time in 14
games. The red-hot Trevor Plouffe, who's hitting .400 this month with six
homers, 13 RBI and 11 runs scored, smacked a solo shot.
"We do not die whatsoever no matter how many runs we're down. That's what
Twins baseball is all about," Twins outfielder Ben Revere said.
P.J. Walters allowed four consecutive singles to start the game before exiting
with right shoulder stiffness. He was charged with four runs.
Minnesota took two of three from the Phillies the last time these teams met
back in 2010. However, Philadelphia claimed a series win in its last visit to
Minnesota back in 2004.
06/14 10:54:31 ET