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10/04/2012 12:32 AM EDT
Morrow fans 11 as Blue Jays beat Twins 2-1
TORONTO 2, MINNESOTA 1
TORONTO (AP) -- Pitching in his home and native land made Scott
Diamond feel as though he was making his major league debut all
Diamond did well in his Canadian debut, but Brandon Morrow was
Morrow struck out a season-high 11, Omar Vizquel wrapped up his
24-year career and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Diamond and the
Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game
Diamond (12-9) was born in Guelph, Ontario, about 50 miles west
of Toronto. He had a group of about 30 family and friends on
hand, including his parents, for his first career start in
"It was like I was coming up for the first time again," he said
of his energy and excitement. "It's the first time coming home
and having a lot of people in the stands. The adrenaline was
running a little bit more than normal."
The rookie left-hander allowed two runs and five hits in five
innings. He walked one and struck out three.
Diamond's night almost ended in a hurry. Rajai Davis led off the
bottom of the first with a comebacker that struck Diamond in the
left leg. The ball bounced straight to first baseman Chris
Parmalee, who recorded the out.
"I let my Canadian heritage shine a little bit by kick-saving it
over to first base," Diamond joked. "It's a little sore right
now but I'm glad we got the out."
Minnesota's trainer came out to check on Diamond, who was
insistent about staying in.
"At that point, all I was thinking is `There's no way I'm coming
out of this game,"' he said. "I've waited a long time to be able
to pitch here so there was no way I was going to come out."
Diamond's calf soon stiffened up, however, bringing an early end
to his outing.
"He finished the fourth and fifth and we weren't going to let
him go back out there after something like that," Twins manager
Ron Gardenhire said. "Heck of a year for that young man. He did
a great job and threw the ball very well again today."
Morrow (10-7) allowed one run and three hits in eight innings,
his longest outing since a complete game victory at Chicago on
June 6. Toronto's staff leader in wins, the right-hander reached
double digits in victories for the third straight season.
"He really never let us get settled in on anything," Gardenhire
said. "It seemed like if he got behind in the count, he never
really gave in and gave you a good pitch to hit."
Ben Revere had all three hits against Morrow, a trio of ground
ball singles to center.
Brandon Lyon finished the ninth for his first save as the Blue
Jays avoided 90 losses, finishing at 73-89. They finished at
.500 last season.
Mike McCoy replaced Vizquel with two outs in the ninth and the
veteran infielder left to a standing ovation, hugging his
teammates, doffing his cap and tapping his heart to show his
The Blue Jays honored Vizquel by having him throw out the first
pitch. The three-time All-Star and 11-time Gold Glove winner has
said he intends to retire.
Vizquel, 45, made one final start at shortstop. It was his
2,709th game there, the most in major league history.
"He's had a heck of a career and he's a heck of a class act,"
Gardenhire said. "Venezuela has got to be really proud of him."
Fans stood and cheered, many waving Venezuelan flags, when
Vizquel came to the plate for the first time in the third. He
later drew cheers for a running, no-look basket catch on Drew
Butera in the top of the seventh, and got another ovation after
lining a base hit to center in the bottom half, his final
at-bat. The hit was the 2,877th of his career.
"It came out perfect," a smiling Vizquel said. "We won the game,
I got a hit, I made a play and we're all going home happy."
Twins infielder Trevor Plouffe had to leave after jamming his
left heel awkwardly on first base while running out a fielder's
choice groundout in the sixth. He was replaced by Alexi Casilla.
"He's got all winter to get well," Gardenhire said. "I think
he'll be OK."
Minnesota's Joe Mauer went 0 for 2 with two walks in his
career-high 147th game, dropping his average to .319.
A fifth straight loss meant the Twins finished 66-96, three wins
better than last season, but they finished with the AL's worst
record for the second straight year and were last in the
division in consecutive years for the first time since 1999-00.
"A disappointing season, everybody knows," Gardenhire said.
Anthony Gose started a two-out rally with a triple to
right-center in the third. Davis drove in Gose with a single,
then stole second and scored on a base hit by Adeiny
The Twins cut the deficit in half in the fourth, loading the
bases with a single and two walks and scoring when Toronto
couldn't turn a double play on Matt Carson's fielder's choice.
NOTES: Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista, who had season-ending surgery
on his left wrist last month, said the injury is healing well
and that he will be ready for spring training 2013. Bautista was
the ML leader in home runs in 2010 and 2011. ... Toronto INF
Edwin Encarnacion (sore left shoulder and neck) missed his third
straight start. ... Former teammate Carlos Baerga and fellow
Venezuelan baseball greats Luis Aparicio and Andres Galarraga
were on hand for Vizquel's final game. ... The Blue Jays went
41-40 at home, the eighth straight season they've posted a
winning record at home. ... Toronto's final attendance was
2,099,663, a 15.5 percent increase from 2011. It's Toronto's
biggest year-on-year increase since 1989.
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