Posted June 09, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Trevor Plouffe had a double, a homer and four RBIs and Scott Diamond pitched six scoreless innings to lead the Minnesota Twins to an 11-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Diamond (5-1) allowed seven hits and struck out five and Joe Mauer added three hits and two RBIs in his return from a sprained right thumb for the Twins, who have won nine of their past 11 games.
Jeff Samardzija (5-4) gave up eight runs and nine hits in 3 2-3 innings, tying his shortest outing of the season for the Cubs, who have lost 20 of their past 24 games.
Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer in the eighth for the Cubs, his 12th long ball in the past 24 games.
For the first six weeks of the season, the Twins and Cubs were vying for the title of the worst team in baseball. But after starting the season 15-32, the Twins have shown some signs of life thanks in large part to the surprising emergence of Diamond in their starting rotation.
The former Rule 5 draft choice struggled mightily in the minors last season and was called up this season almost out of desperation to try and help the Twins' rotation. The left-hander has been nothing short of superb, allowing eight earned runs in his seven starts for a 1.61 ERA.
He had plenty of breathing room to work with against the flailing Cubs, thanks to an uncharacteristic off day from Samardzija.
Samardzija has had an impressive season for the Cubs, entering the game having allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight straight starts. His fastball was again humming around 97 mph, but the former Notre Dame receiver was pummeled in the fourth.
The Twins had six runs and seven hits in that inning alone, getting four doubles and two hits from Mauer, the last an RBI-double off the wall in left field that made it 8-0.
Plouffe hit a solo homer in the fifth and Mauer and Josh Willingham had RBI singles in the sixth to make it 11-0.
Samardzija didn't make it out of the inning, giving up a two-run double to Plouffe, an RBI double to Denard Span and another run on an infield single from Ben Revere before yielding to Casey Coleman. The right-hander also lasted on 3 2-3 innings in a start against Miami on April 19.
Diamond was able to keep Soriano, who hit two towering home runs in a 10-inning loss on Friday night, in the yard, yielding only a single to the slugger in the sixth inning.
By the time Soriano did go deep, a second-decker to left field off Jeff Gray that made it 11-3, the game was already out of reach.
NOTES: Span had two hits and an RBI after not starting on Friday night because of an illness. ... Willingham extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the first inning. ... The Twins send LHP Francisco Liriano (1-6, 6.46 ERA) to the mound on Sunday for the series finale against RHP Ryan Dempster (1-3, 2.59). Liriano has pitched well since rejoining the rotation two starts ago, going 1-1 with a 0.75 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 12 innings. Dempster has probably been Chicago's most reliable starter, holding opponents to a .212 batting average. He pitched seven shutout innings in a win over Milwaukee in his last start.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
MINNEAPOLIS There were times earlier this season when Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe looked lost at the plate.
After going 0-for-3 in a game against Cleveland on May 14, his batting average dipped to .133. He was still drawing walks, as was evident by his .288 on-base percentage at the time, but the hits just weren't coming.
Even so, the Twins didn't give up on Plouffe...
MINNEAPOLIS A walk-off single isn't as dramatic or exciting as a walk-off home run, although they both count just the same in the end.
Within the span of nine games, Twins left fielder Josh Willingham has managed to accomplish both dramatic feats in a pair of Minnesota wins at Target Field. Friday was the latest installment, as his 10th-inning single down the left field line...
MINNEAPOLIS The Minnesota Twins didn't waste much time in signing two of their early draft picks. Second-rounder Mason Melotakis and fourth-rounder Zack Jones both signed contracts with the Twins on Friday at Target Field.
Melotakis, a left-hander from Northwestern State, was taken by the Twins in the second round with the 63rd overall pick. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Melotakis...
MINNEAPOLIS Nate Dammann has been a member of the Minnesota Twins organization longer than most players on the team's 25-man roster. And though Dammann, Minnesota's bullpen catcher, isn't technically on the roster, he has become a teammate to the rest of the Twins.
Dammann is in his sixth season with Minnesota after he landed the job out of college prior to the 2007...
Who would have thought playing infield can take such a toll on a player’s hands? We all know middle infielders take a ton of abuse to their legs throughout the years with guys sliding into second and taking them out, but Jamey Carroll has given us an entirely new meaning for the term “seasoned veteran.” Just look at that meat hook attached to the end of his right arm.
While the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago Cubs have two of the worst records in the majors, only one is playing like it.
The streaking Twins look to complete a three-game sweep of the lowly Cubs on Sunday.
Minnesota has the worst record in the AL, but has put together a nice run over the last week and a half, winning nine of 11.
The Twins (24-34) will try to match their longest...
MINNEAPOLIS The Minnesota Twins organization believes in giving back to the community, which is why the team will take part in its second annual Hope Week, beginning Sunday. Each day for the following week, Twins players, coaches and front office staff will be out in the Twin Cities community, volunteering their time to make a difference, whether it be through raising funds or simply...
MINNEAPOLIS On June 15, 2001, the Twins traveled to Wrigley Field for a weekend series. They arrived in Chicago the best team in the AL Central, second-best in the league, boasting a 41-23 record. The Cubs were nearly as good, on top of the NL Central by a six-game margin, their 38-25 record worse than only the Diamondbacks in the NL.
The Cubs swept the Twins that weekend, back...
MINNEAPOLIS Sunday's 8-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs was one of just a few speed bumps on what had otherwise been a pretty impressive ride for the Minnesota Twins.
After taking the first two games this weekend from the visiting Cubs, Minnesota pulled to within 10 games under .500, a mark it hadn't been at since April 30 when the Twins were 6-16. It's been a slow, steady...
Even DDP Supports Scott "The Diamond Cutter" DiamondPhoto Credit: dvids
At “Stream Pies,” we are serving up gooey loads of knowledge. Here, we’ll provide invaluable streaming advice on SPs who are owned in less than 30-percent of Yahoo! leagues. We list the options in order of best option to “least-best” option (with the strongest recommendations starting at...
While the Minnesota Twins continue to dig out of a tough start, the Chicago Cubs keep suffering difficult losses.
The Cubs figure to have a tough assignment Saturday when a surging Scott Diamond gets the ball at Target Field for the Twins, who could finally have Joe Mauer back in the lineup.
Minnesota (23-34) remains in last place in the AL Central, but has won eight of 10 following...
(Eds: APNewsNow. Will be updated. With AP Photos.) By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer Scott Diamond grew up in Canada, seemingly destined to become a pitcher.
He says he was a bad skater, so hockey was merely a hobby. Baseball was his primary sport, but he only found the mound because, he says, he couldn't play any of the other positions very well.
The Minnesota Twins are happy...