Diamond roughed up in Twins' 12-5 loss to Red Sox
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota starter Scott Diamond stayed out of trouble against David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox batters at Fenway Park 11 days ago.
Repeating that performance at Target Field on Saturday night proved more difficult.
Ortiz homered twice and drove in six runs to hammer his former team once again, leading Boston to a 12-5 victory over the Twins.
Diamond (3-4) gave up six runs on eight hits and walked three in 4 1-3 innings for the Twins, who have lost four in a row to fall into last place in the AL Central.
"The one guy we say don't let beat us is David Ortiz," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They've got a lot of really good hitters over there, but we told them to stay away from this guy, don't give in to him. And he keeps sending souvenirs. So, we've got to make an adjustment there. We've got to pitch him a little bit better than that."
Craig Breslow (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief for the win. Ortiz also had a single and a walk, raising his batting average to .362 in a game that lasted 3 hours, 53 minutes.
Diamond held Ortiz in check on May 7 at Boston in his best start of the season, giving up just three hits over seven scoreless innings.
Saturday's plan was to avoid Ortiz, who is 19 for 37 with five homers and 16 RBIs at Target Field, but Diamond's control deserted him. He had particular trouble locating his curveball, which Ortiz sent out to the right-center field stands four batters into the game for his sixth home run of the season and a 3-0 lead.
"I just didn't execute and hung the hell out of it, and he hit it 400 feet," Diamond said. "Even the at-bats after that I thought I made OK pitches, but I don't think I showed him enough in until that third at-bat to really get him off the plate and to really be able to expand the zone. That's my fault in the game plan and just simply executing pitches."
Twins general manager Terry Ryan has long been one of the most respected executives in the game. But one of his biggest mistakes came in 2002 when he released Ortiz, who had just appeared to start putting things together in his sixth big league season. The move is still haunting Ryan and the Twins 11 years later.
Ortiz signed with the Red Sox, and promptly blossomed into one of the most feared hitters in the American League, a central figure in Boston's two World Series championships and the kind of slugger the Twins have been searching for ever since. He wears No. 34 in honor of the late Kirby Puckett and seems to take particular delight in hammering his former team.
Ortiz said there isn't an added incentive in tormenting his former club.
"It used to be, not anymore," Ortiz said. "I just go about my business. I try to hit the moon every time I go to hit anywhere. It's not new."
Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster wasn't much better than Diamond. He walked four hitters in the second and third innings to load the bases in both frames, but the right-hander got Mauer to chase a breaking ball down and away to escape in the second and then got Aaron Hicks to fly out to deep right field to end the third.
Dempster needed a staggering 127 pitches to get through just 4 2-3 innings. He gave up five runs on eight hits and walked six.
Minnesota's Pedro Florimon had two hits and two RBIs and Joe Mauer extended his hitting streak to 15 games with two hits, but the Twins left 13 runners on base.
"We had opportunities and couldn't come up with enough big hits," Gardenhire said. "Tonight was one of those nights, again, we went to our bullpen for another 4-plus innings and we're not going to be able to hold up like that. We have to get deeper in the game with our starters. It's just two games after an off-day and we pitch 7-plus innings out of our bullpen. Can't do that, we'll kill them."
Down 7-5 in the sixth, the Twins loaded the bases again. But Pedroia made a nifty over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field, then whirled and easily threw out Ryan Doumit at home on a major base-running blunder.
Ortiz and Nava busted the game open with two-run homers in the seventh, giving Ortiz his 40th career multi-homer game.
NOTES: The Red Sox played without OFs Shane Victorino and Stephen Drew because of back injuries. Farrell said both were hopeful of playing on Sunday. ... Mauer returned to the lineup after missing Friday night with a stiff back. ... Diamond and Dempster were facing each other for the second time this season, becoming the first pair of Canadian starters to meet more than once in a season since at least 1920, according to the Red Sox. ... The Twins will send LHP Pedro Hernandez (2-0, 5.79) to the mound on Sunday for the finale against Boston RHP John Lackey (1-4, 4.05). Lackey is looking to bounce back from a poor start against Tampa Bay, when he gave up five runs in 4 1-3 innings.