Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 6/19/12
Scott Diamond is still arguably the most consistent pitcher in the Minnesota Twins' rotation this season, but it appears as if opposing teams are starting to figure the left-hander out.Tuesday's outing matched Diamond's shortest start of the year, just 5 13 innings, and he was hit with the loss his second in a row as the Twins fell 7-2 to the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates. Diamond allowed four earned runs, which matched a season high. The only other time he allowed four earned runs was his last start, last week against Philadelphia, in which he allowed a pair of homers.Diamond gave up another home run Tuesday in the first inning as Josh Harrison tagged him for a solo shot to left field. The ball appeared to bounce off the wall, then off the chest of Minnesota left fielder Josh Willingham and over the wall, but it was ruled a home run and was not reviewed."From our view point, it just looked like a home run," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It didn't look like it went off anybody. If it went off the fence and bounced off him, maybe we need instant replay. Give me a red flag, I'll throw it out there. But we don't have any of that."Regardless, it put Diamond and the Twins in an early 1-0 hole, and Minnesota never tied the game up after Diamond allowed his seventh home run of the season.Aside from the first-inning homer, Pittsburgh also stole three bases against Diamond on Tuesday. In his eight previous starts, he had allowed just six total stolen bases four in one game against Toronto and two in one game at Milwaukee. Opponents did not steal a base in his other six starts prior to his outing in Pittsburgh.All three steals Tuesday came in the fifth inning. Josh Harrison took second base with Andrew McCutchen at the plate, and then Harrison and McCutchen put on the double steal, safely third and second, respectively. Harrison eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Casey McGehee."It's in the reports that they run, and if you give it to them they will," Gardenhire said. "Everybody was screaming, You've got to check the runner at second base.' We kind of knew they were going to go. Just not a good job by Scotty there. He picks his leg up and they're running before he even throws the ball home, and that's just not a good job by our pitcher. "That's good baserunning by them. They were being aggressive, trying to get that lead, trying to get to third. You know what? He caught our pitcher and got us."McCutchen not only stole on Diamond, but he finished with three hits, including a two-run homer in the seventh inning off reliever Jeff Manship that made it a 6-2 Pirates lead. Facing Diamond for the first time, McCutchen singled in the bottom of the first inning off the Twins lefty."Just trying to simplify it as much as possible, just staying in the middle of the field," McCutchen said of facing a new pitcher. "Just try not to do too much, keep my sights in the middle and right field and everything will take care of itself."Diamond certainly didn't get much help from his offense a seventh-inning two-run homer by Denard Span provided the only Twins runs of the game and Minnesota's bullpen allowed three more runs after Diamond's exit. Gardenhire felt Diamond pitched deep enough into Tuesday's game to give the overworked bullpen a bit of a rest.Still, it matched Diamond's shortest outing and his highest earned run output this season. His one strikeout Tuesday also matched a season-low, and his two walks equaled a season high both of which came in his last start against the Phillies.After going 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in his first three starts this year, Diamond was bound to cool off a bit. He's still the best arm the Twins have, but it looks as if we're starting to finally see him come back to earth. Robby Incmikoski contributed to this report.Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
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