MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Two Twins sent to Rochester after Thursday's loss
The Kansas City Royals' five-game slide heading into the break feels like eons ago. And for the first time in a long time, Kansas City upgraded at the trade deadline. Billy Butler tallied two hits, two RBI and a run scored as Kansas City won its season-high ninth straight game, a 7-2 triumph over the Minnesota Twins to complete a three-game sweep. The Royals haven't won nine in a row since they started the 2003 campaign 9-0. Justin Maxwell, who was acquired Wednesday before the non-waiver deadline from the Houston Astros for pitcher Kyle Smith, made his Royals debut. He had a hit, a sacrifice fly and scored a run. James Shields (6-7) labored through six innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and five walks for the Royals, who finished off their first sweep of the Twins in Minnesota in 14 years. Scott Diamond (5-10) surrendered seven runs -- six earned -- on nine hits and three walks over five innings for Minnesota, which dropped its fourth consecutive contest.
Following Thursday's loss to the Royals the Twins made a pair of roster moves. Left-handed pitcher Scott Diamond and outfielder Aaron Hicks were both optioned to Triple-A Rochester. The Twins will recall outfielder Oswaldo Arcia in time for Friday's game against Houston and plan to make an additional roster move at a later date. Diamond made 20 starts this season for Minnesota posting a record of 5-10 with a 5.52 ERA. Thursday, Diamond got the start for the Twins and gave up 9 hits and six earned runs over five innings of work. Hicks appeared in 81 games hitting .192 with eight homers, 27 RBI and 37 runs. Thursday Hicks was 0-for-4 against the Royals with a pair of strike outs.
The Minnesota Twins begin a three game series tonight at home against the Houston Astros. Sam Deduno starts for Minnesota and he'll face Jarred Cosart. While the Twins have lost four in a row, don't blame Deduno - tonight he'll be looking for his career-best fourth straight win. Tonight will be the first time these two teams have played since 2009 - in that one the Astros took two of three.
The Vikings are officially one week away from preseason game #1 as next Friday they'll host the Houston Texans. In preparation for that and the rest of the preseason schedule the Vikings will continue their training camp today in Mankato. A walk-thru is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. followed by a full pads workout at 2:45 p.m. Saturday's full pad practice moves under the lights to tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Blakeslee Stadium. Sunday the players have the day off. The team's defensive ends are scheduled to be in the autograph line at "Vikings Village" after this morning's workout.
The NFL announced on Thursday that DeMarcus Love of the Minnesota Vikings has been suspended without pay for the team's first four games of the 2013 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances. Love will be eligible to return to the Vikings active roster on Monday, September 30th following the team's game the previous day against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Love is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.
The 3M Championship tees off on the first round this morning at 10:20 a.m. at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine and will run through Sunday. Local favorite Tom Lehman is a bit of a question mark this morning as he was dealing with a virus yesterday that he picked up in the week following the British Open. He's scheduled to tee off at 11:20 a.m. with Roger Chapman and Mark Calcavecchia. General admission is free all weekend.
The WNBA Minnesota Lynx return to the hardwood for a game tonight at 7 p.m. against San Antonio at Target Center. Tickets are still available for the contest. The Lynx have the league's best record at the All-Star Break. San Antonio's Danielle Robinson leads the WNBA in assists but Minnesota has held her in check in the two previous meetings, both Lynx wins.