Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Diamond returns from long break to face Orioles tonight; home run totals skyrocket at Target Field

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: July 16, 2012 - 4:42 PM

La Velle and I were just at Star Tribune headquarters, joining Michael Rand for an on-camera discussion about various trade options for the Twins. That video should be up on the home page soon. (Update: Here's the link.)

Tonight, the Twins open a four-game series against the Orioles at Target Field, with Scott Diamond hoping to continue the success he was having before the All-Star break. The Twins wanted to use the break to give Diamond extra rest, so this will be his first start since July 5.

Basically, this was the equivalent of skipping a start for the lefthander, so we’ll see how his arm responds. Sometimes pitchers come back from a break like this talking about how they feel too strong.

The Twins have lost seven straight games against the Orioles, including that season-opening sweep at Camden Yards. Baltimore righthander Chris Tillman will be making his second start of the season, also on long rest, after a strong outing against Seattle on July 4. He held the Mariners to two hits and two unearned runs in 8 1/3 innings, with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Key stat (from the Twins game notes): The Twins (43) and their opponents (57) have combined to hit 100 home runs in 45 games at Target Field this season. That’ an average of 2.22 per game, which is up from 1.55 last year and 1.43 in 2010.

And guess who's back? Jim Thome, who got traded from the Phillies to the Orioles on June 30. Thome has hit the four longest home runs in Target Field history -- the longest being his 490-foot blast for the Twins on July 17, 2011.

ORIOLES (46-42)

1. Nick Markakis, RF
2. J.J. Hardy, SS
3. Adam Jones, CF
4. Matt Wieters, C
5. Mark Reynolds, 1B
6. Steve Pearce, LF
7. Chris Davis, DH
8. Wilson Betemit, 3B
9. Steve Tolleson, 2B

Starting pitcher: RH Chris Tillman (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

TWINS (37-53)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Ryan Doumit, DH
8. Brian Dozier, SS
9. Jamey Carroll, 2B

Starting pitcher: LH Scott Diamond (7-3, 2.62 ERA)

Target Field. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

Follow along on Twitter @JoeCStrib


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