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MIN@CWS: Diamond solid over six frames vs. White Sox

The Rangers will look to continue their winning ways against the Twins on Friday.

Texas has won six of their last seven games, and there's no denying the American League West leaders can intimidate any opponent.

"It's a very good lineup that can do a lot of things," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "There's power up and down. They're not afraid to swing it. You have to change speeds and keep them off-balance. You can't give them too many hitting counts or else they'll kill you. But we've known that about the Rangers for a long time."

Trying to cool down the potent Texas offense will be left-hander Scott Diamond, who will be making only his third start of the season. His 2013 debut was delayed because he had a bone chip removed from his elbow.

The 26-year-old Diamond tossed his first quality start in his last outing against the White Sox, allowing only one earned run on four hits and a pair of walks, along with five strikeouts.

Facing him will be right-hander Justin Grimm, who will be making his fifth career start, and he will look to improve on a very impressive second outing of the season against the Mariners.

Grimm threw six innings of two-run ball (one earned), on six hits and a walk, while recording a career-high nine strikeouts.

"I was just going out there and being aggressive, I wasn't worried about the runners in scoring position," said Grimm. "I was just trying to pitch a close game and attack hitters. My whole mindset was to keep it close and just keep executing pitches."

"He was able to make good pitches at the right time, he kept the ball down and changed speeds and threw the ball the way he is capable. It all started there," added Rangers manager Ron Washington.

The second game of this four-game set is the beginning of a tough schedule for the Twins, and it will be a good measuring stick for a team that has surprised many with a 9-9 record.

"We're going to have to be up to the task," Gardenhire said. "We're on a stretch here where we have four against these guys, and then Detroit, Cleveland and Boston and that's just the road trip ... and then we come home for more.

"We need to be able to continue [to be up to the task to] keep our heads up."

Rangers: Baker likely back in the lineup Friday
Outfielder Jeff Baker will likely make his return to the lineup on Friday. X-rays revealed no structural damage to his knee, although Baker was given an extra day off Wednesday as precaution.

"He got treatment today. His mobility is better, but I'm looking for him to be available tomorrow," Washington said.

Baker's injury came on a dazzling sliding catch near the left field wall in the first inning Tuesday at Angels Stadium. He had to the leave the game early as his knee quickly became swollen.

• Texas' home run streak ended at a season-high eight straight games after the team failed to send one over the wall in Thursday's contest.

Twins: Recent struggles against Texas continues
The Twins are 2-10 against the Rangers in their last 12 games after going 16-7 in their previous 23.

• Minnesota's bullpen has been excellent recently, posting a ERA of 2.03 in their last 13 games and an ERA of 1.96 in their last seven with 24 strikeouts and just three walks. On the season, the relievers have combined to walk just 20 batters, fourth fewest in baseball and second fewest in the AL, behind Texas (19). Each walked one batter on Thursday.

• Eight of the Twins' nine wins have been in come-from-behind fashion, the only exception being April 16 vs. the Angels. Minnesota threatened to make it nine of 10, but fell just short after leaving the bases loaded in the eighth inning on Thursday.

Worth Noting
• Nelson Cruz continues to rake. He now has 11 RBIs in his last five games, including three home runs during that stretch.

• The Rangers have yet to lose a series this season. Comments