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MIN@CWS: Diamond goes six to earn first MLB win

CHICAGO -- It was a refreshing sound for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

Following Minnesota's 7-6 victory over the White Sox to close out a difficult month of August, celebratory yells, laughter and the sound of an excitement echoed through the Twins' clubhouse and down the tunnels of U.S. Cellular Field.

And the Twins had reasons to be happy. After all, left-hander Scott Diamond had just collected his first Major League win as the club snapped a five-game losing streak against its division rival -- not to mention, Minnesota could finally flip its calendars to September after a 7-21 month of August.

The seven wins for the month were the team's fewest for the month of August since moving to Minnesota in 1961. It was tough for Gardenhire to pinpoint what exactly went wrong for his club. The Twins' manager said that in a month like his club just endured, it was a little bit of everything.

The 97 runs were the fewest put up by any American League club in the month; the Twins scored either one or zero runs in half of their 28 contests. Their pitching staff posted an ERA of 5.21, which was last in the AL at the time their game was completed.

"I'm just glad we have a day off tomorrow. August wasn't a good month for us," Gardenhire said. "Too many injuries, not swinging the bat well, too many errors, too [much of] me not managing well. Just the whole package."

For one inning on Wednesday, the Twins seemed to put all that aside as they leaped from the gate for six runs in the first frame on a day where the ball carried well to left field. After Joe Mauer drove in his 500th career run with a double, Jason Kubel hit a two-run shot and Luke Hughes added a two-run homer to push the Twins ahead, 6-0, against White Sox starter Jake Peavy.

"The ball was traveling to left field pretty well," Peavy said. "I had good enough stuff today to compete. They got the ball in the air to left field, and that's all you needed to do today. I don't know what to say. That first inning was unbelievable."

Peavy (6-7) seemed to settle in after giving up the two home runs, holding the the Twins to just two more hits while tossing four shutout innings shutout innings.

"We hit the ball well in the first inning and jumped ahead, and everyone had a hand in that," Hughes said. "[Peavy] changed it up, though, and settled in, which was a little disappointing for us. We wanted to get to that bullpen a little earlier, but he started throwing the ball better and hitting his spots."

Even with Peavy finding a groove, the six-run allowed Diamond to relax before he even had to take the mound in his third career start. The 25-year-old left-hander limited the White Sox to just three runs off three hits and three walks over six innings to earn his first victory in the big leagues.

"I'm always working for the next one, but this is an unbelievable accomplishment," Diamond said. "It's my first win and, like everyone else has been saying, I really couldn't have done this without the guys on the team. They made some big plays behind me."

After Jason Repko homered off of reliever Jason Frasor in the top of the seventh to extend the lead to 7-3, Diamond handed the game over to his bullpen to nail down the win -- but, after Matt Capps pitched a scoreless seventh, Diamond almost watched it dwindle away.

Glen Perkins came on in the eighth and gave up an RBI single to Alex Rios, but he managed to prevent any further damage by getting Tyler Flowers to line out with the bases loaded to end the inning with the Twins clinging to a three-run lead. Joe Nathan gave up a two-out, two-run single to Paul Konerko before finally striking out Rios to preserve the victory.

"We haven't had enough of those opportunities lately to get [Perkins and Nathan] the innings they need," Gardenhire said. "More than anything else, they've been coming in in a lot of situations where we're way behind, but you know what? We got through it and that's all that matters."

August began with the Twins just seven games off the pace in the American League Central and threatening to at least leapfrog the White Sox in the division. The South Siders swept the Twins in Minnesota from Aug. 5-7 and sent the Twins into a spiral for the rest of the month, which ended with the Twins 18 games back of the division-leading Tigers.

"We had an exciting baseball game. It's a nice win for us," Gardenhire said. "We started out good, putting up a bunch of runs early and then just kind of hung on. We needed it, it was a good win for us."

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