Twins pitcher Diamond earns first MLB victory
CHICAGO (AP) -- If the loud cheering and applause coming from the Minnesota Twins' clubhouse wasn't evidence enough, the smiles and general elation inside were.
They needed this one.
Jason Kubel, Luke Hughes and Jason Repko homered and the Minnesota bullpen held on to save Scott Diamond's first major league win as the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 7-6 on a windy Wednesday.
Diamond (1-2) was gifted six runs before taking the mound in the first inning and held a revived White Sox offense in check. The left-hander allowed three runs and three hits in six innings, with five strikeouts and three walks.
"It's always fun to see them get their first win, their first hit, their first appearance," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's what it's all about."
Diamond gave up a two-out walk in the third followed by Brent Lillibridge's 13th homer of the year to cut the lead to 6-2.
Lillibridge walked and scored on Paul Konerko's double in the sixth, but Diamond was otherwise effective, getting ground balls and keeping the ball in the park.
Teammates jokingly coached him on media relations -- mostly whose names to remember to mention -- with a small horde waiting for the rookie as he finished his postgame meal.
"Like everyone else has been saying, I really couldn't have done this without the guys on the team," he said. "We made some big plays behind me. (Rene) Tosoni running into the wall, (Trevor) Plouffe's plays at short, Drew (Butera) calling an unbelievable game behind the plate. Just coming up with that big first inning really helped ease my mind.
"As soon as I stepped on the mound today, I was feeling the wind blowing around out there. The mentality coming into the game was to keep the ball on the ground and get some ground balls. Drew kept me calm behind the plate and talking with (pitching coach Rick Anderson) in between innings really helped just refocus everything."
The Twins came up with a six-run first inning after scoring just 97 runs all month, including 13 over their last two games.
Plouffe started a streak of four straight extra-base hits off White Sox starter Jake Peavy (6-7) with a one-out double, and Mauer doubled in Plouffe to give him 500 career RBIs.
Cuddyer then doubled in Mauer and scored when Kubel lofted a fly ball to left that got some help from the wind and barely cleared the outstretched glove of a leaping Juan Pierre.
Kubel's third homer in his last four games was his 14th in 39 career games at U.S. Cellular Field.
After Danny Valencia struck out, Tosoni singled and Hughes hit a drive to left-center for his seventh homer.
Repko added a two-out drive in the seventh for the Twins, who went 7-21 in August for the club's worst record in the month.
"August wasn't a good month for us," Gardenhire said. "Too many injuries, too many not swinging the bat good, too many errors and too many me not managing good ... the whole package."
Peavy allowed six runs and eight hits over five innings, falling to 2-6 with a 5.77 ERA since a relief appearance on June 25.
"They were hitting the ball to left field and the ball was traveling to left field very well," Peavy said. "Obviously I didn't make a lot of good pitches. They got the ball in the air to left field and that's all you needed to do today."
The loss snapped a five-game win streak for Chicago, which fell to six games behind the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.
Peavy settled down after the rough start, giving the White Sox a chance to get back into the game. Lillibridge hit a two-run homer in the third and came all the way around from first to score on Konerko's double in the sixth.
Alex Rios hit an RBI single in the eighth but Chicago left the bases loaded when Tyler Flowers lined out to third to end the inning.
The White Sox mounted another challenge in the ninth, but Nathan struck out Rios with a runner on first to end the game and earn his 12th save.
NOTES: Twins 1B Justin Morneau (mild concussion symptoms) has to be cleared by the league before he can return. Morneau jammed his shoulder on Sunday and experienced headaches, prompting a concussion test. ... After their first day off since Aug. 11, the Twins begin a three-game road series against the Angels on Friday with Carl Pavano going against Los Angeles ace Jered Weaver. ... The White Sox begin a crucial three-game series at first-place Detroit on Friday. John Danks will start the opener against Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who is 20-5. Verlander's last loss came against Chicago on July 15.