BOSTON – The Minnesota Twins aren’t taking any chances with Scott Diamond’s surgically repaired left elbow.
On Tuesday night, it was the Boston Red Sox who didn’t get many chances.
Diamond allowed three hits in seven shutout innings, Ryan Doumit hit his first homer of the season and the Twins beat the Red Sox, 6-1.
Diamond said he still felt strong when he left but understands the cautious approach less than five months after the operation.
“This is only my (fifth) start after surgery,” he said, “so I feel it was a smart play.”
Diamond (3-2) is having a strong season after a rookie year in which he went 12-7 with a 3.54 ERA. He’s allowed three or fewer runs in four of his five outings.
On Tuesday, he retired his last 15 batters, didn’t allow a runner past second, struck out two and walked none.
“Diamond was great,” Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire said, but “coming off the elbow thing, we’re really a little leery of” letting him throw too many pitches.
He threw 96 against Boston after tossing 78, 97, 97 and 88 in his other starts.
“Everything’s kind of been getting back in sync,” Diamond said. “That’s the focus now, just continue to build and get stronger.”
David Ortiz got one of the hits off Diamond, a leadoff single in the second that stretched his hitting streak to 27 games, a run that began before he sustained a season-ending injury in August. He has at least one hit in all 15 games he’s played this season.
Ryan Dempster (2-3) pitched well for Boston and left trailing 2-0 in the top of the eighth after third baseman Pedro Ciriaco made errors on the first two batters, putting runners at first and third. That led to four runs, three of them unearned, as the Twins took a 6-0 lead.
The Red Sox entered the game with the best record in the majors, but have just 11 runs while losing four of their past five games.
They also lost two players after they collided chasing a foul pop by Chris Parmelee in the fifth near the low wall about halfway between home plate and third base.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks caught it but catcher David Ross slid into him, forcing his back to hit the wall. Ross left later in the fifth with a left thigh contusion and Middlebrooks was replaced by Ciriaco to start the seventh because of pain in his right side.
Ross is listed day to day. Middlebrooks said he could have stayed in but will have X-rays and CT scans.
Josh Roenicke worked the last two innings, allowing Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s fourth homer in the ninth.
The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the fifth on a leadoff double by Doumit and an RBI single by Wilkin Ramirez. They made it 2-0 on Doumit’s homer with one out in the seventh.
“I made two mistakes and (Doumit) took advantage of both of them,” Dempster said. “The way Diamond was throwing the ball and keeping us in check, you knew that eventually one run would be maybe one run too many.”