Royals begin set in Minnesota

Scott Diamond didn't have his best stuff in his most recent outing, but he was still able to win for the first time in five starts.

The left-hander aims to make things a little easier on himself Tuesday as he takes the hill for the Twins' opener of a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals.

Diamond's last start came on Tuesday at the Chicago White Sox as he was returning from a six-game suspension received after he threw near the head of the Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton on Aug. 23. The 26-year-old yielded four runs over just five innings, but got plenty of support in an 18-9 win.

The offensive outburst by his offense certainly didn't escape the hurler.

"It's hard not to notice when we're putting up big runs in just one inning," Diamond told Minnesota's website. "I can't complain, that's for sure."

Diamond had been 0-1 since his last victory on Aug. 6, but improved to 11-6 with a 3.35 earned run average in 22 starts this season. He has split his two career starts against the Royals with a 3.86 ERA.

The Twins took the final three contests of their four-game series with the Cleveland Indians, winning Monday's finale 7-2.

Samuel Deduno carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and ended up allowing two runs in seven frames of work, while Justin Morneau drove in two runs and Joe Mauer added an RBI single.

"The defense was outstanding and Deduno was making them swing the ball all over the place," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was a close ballgame, but we finally put some runs on at the end there."

The Royals were also able to get some late runs in their last game, taking a 2-1 decision in 10 innings over the Chicago White Sox.

The game was scoreless through nine innings before Mike Moustakas and Jeff Francoeur notched RBI singles in the 10th. Francoeur's insurance run proved to be the difference after Greg Holland yielded a run in the bottom of the frame.

Holland, though, struck out two batters swinging to end the game, saving the win for Kelvin Herrera, who got an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the ninth.

"Herrera came in and did a phenomenal job," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

The Royals are 4-6 in September since closing out last month with a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers.

Will Smith should be well rested for tonight's outing for the Royals, having not pitched since Sept. 1 against the Twins.

The 23-year-old lefty picked up his third straight loss on that day, yielding three runs on nine hits and two walks over six innings. He has a 6.75 ERA over 14 2/3 frames on his losing streak and is 4-7 with a 5.45 ERA in 12 starts this season.

The rookie has lost both of his previous starts versus Minnesota, giving up 10 runs over 10 2/3 frames.

The Twins are 10-5 against the Royals this season.