Mets hand the ball to Harvey vs. Minnesota

Right-hander Matt Harvey makes the third start of his first full season in the major leagues on Saturday when the New York Mets visit the Minnesota Twins in the middle test of a three-game interleague series at Target Field.

Harvey, who turned 24 at the end of March, was drafted in the seventh round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2007 but did not sign. He was re-selected as the No. 7 overall pick of the 2010 draft by the Mets.

He reached the majors two years later and was 3-5 in 10 starts while posting a stingy 2.73 earned run average in 59 1/3 innings.

His initial two starts of 2013 have been successful, yielding an 8-4 defeat of the San Diego Padres on April 3 and a 7-2 win obver the Philadelphia Phillies five days later.

Opponents have managed just one run - and a .093 batting average - in 14 combined innings, in which Harvey has struck out 19 batters and walked only four.

Harvey, who has never faced the Twins, is 4-3 in seven career road starts.

Minnesota counters with Canadian-born lefty Scott Diamond, who makes his first start of the year after recovering from surgery on his elbow.

Diamond won a career-best 12 games in 27 starts for the Twins in 2012 in his first prolonged experience in the majors. He was 1-5 in seven starts a year earlier while pitching 39 innings.

The Twins placed him on the 15-day disabled list as of March 22 and he allowed four runs on six hits in five innings of a rehabilitation start at Single-A Fort Myers on April 7.

Diamond has never faced the Mets.

On Friday, John Buck homered in his fourth straight game - a grand slam - while David Wright had three hits with four RBI and two runs scored as the Mets thumped the Twins, 16-5.

Buck, who also scored twice, shares the major league lead with six home runs and 19 RBI. He also became the first catcher in MLB history with six home runs through 10 games.

"I'm benefiting from last year when I tried too hard," Buck said. "Now I'm just going up there and trying to hit the ball solid and good things are happening."

Daniel Murphy went 4-for-5 with two doubles to go along with four RBI for the Mets, who saw starter Jon Niese (2-0) toss five innings and allow five runs -- four earned -- on five hits.

Marlon Byrd had two hits and two RBI in the win.

Ryan Doumit plated two runs and Justin Morneau had two hits with one RBI and a run scored for the Twins, who have lost four straight. Vance Worley (0-2) lasted just one-plus inning and gave up nine runs -- seven earned -- on seven hits and walked two in defeat.

The Mets won two of three games the last time the teams played in 2010. The Twins lead the all-time series, 7-5.