Tigers: baseball Statistics and Spring Training Inning Essay

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DETROIT -- It was a good matchup for Scott Diamond -- a two-game losing streak and the Detroit Tigers.

"We didn't want to get swept at all," Diamond said Wednesday after halting Detroit's five-game winning streak with six innings of four-hit pitching in a 6-2 Minnesota victory.

Diamond came into the game with a 14-16 career record and 3.86 ERA. Against Detroit, he was only 1-2 but had a 2.67 ERA.

"They won the division. They were in the World Series. They're in first place and the team to beat in our division," Diamond said. "I enjoy coming in here to pitch and I enjoy facing them."

Diamond (2-2), whose longest start in four outings this season is 6 1/3 innings, held the Tigers hitless until Jhonny Peralta singled to right with one out in the fifth.

Nothing came of that, but Austin Jackson doubled, Torii Hunter singled and Miguel Cabrera doubled -- all with one out in the sixth -- to trim a three-run Detroit deficit to 3-2. Diamond got Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez on groundouts to end the threat.

"At any time they can strike," Diamond said. "Those two runs were pretty quick"

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, "Diamond pitched pretty good. He's been a good pitcher for us. He keeps the ball out of the middle of the plate.

"There's always that one inning against those guys when you end up facing their two big guys. Which we always seem to be doing."

Minnesota countered in the seventh by pouncing on hard-throwing reliever Bruce Rondon to break open the game.

Afterward, Detroit announced that Rondon was being returned to Triple-A Toledo and Luke Putkonen was being brought up to replace him in the Tigers' bullpen.

"He's just not ready for us," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

"It's a learning process," said Rondon's catcher, Brayan Pena. "He's going down for his own good."

Rondon fed Aaron Hicks a 2-1 fastball clocked at 101 mph and the Twins' rookie clocked it into right field for a leadoff triple, only his ninth hit of the season.

"He's a good player," Gardenhire said of his rookie center fielder, who got a breathing day Tuesday night to maybe take some of the pressure off. "He's been fighting through it."

Pedro Florimon grounded another 101 mph pitch up the middle for a single and a 4-2 Minnesota lead. Rondon walked two batters after getting an out and Morneau greeted southpaw Darin Downs with an RBI single to center.

Parmelee started the eighth with a home run, his second of the season, to make it 6-2.

Anibal Sanchez, who set a Tigers record with 17 strikeouts in his previous start, went to a full count on the first five batters he faced and was staring at a 2-0 deficit before the first inning was complete.

Sanchez (3-2) struck out the first two batters he faced, but Josh Willingham then walked, Morneau sliced a double into the left-field corner for the first run and Parmelee drove him in with a single he sliced to left.

"We made Sanchez throw a lot of pitches early in the game," Gardenhire said. "We had some good at-bats in that first inning."

Florimon singled with one out in the second and scored on a two-out double by Jamey Carroll to