BOSTON -- It was difficult to tell who was more impressed with Scott Diamond's performance Tuesday night against Boston.
His catcher or his manager?
Rebounding from offseason elbow surgery, Diamond dazzled in his first-ever start against the Red Sox, allowing just three hits over seven shutout innings in leading the Minnesota Twins to a 6-1 victory.
"I may as well take a rocking chair back there. He makes it really easy," said catcher Ryan Doumit, who also belted his first home run of the season. "He's one of the most prepared pitchers that I've ever been around. He has a game plan every time out and he sticks to it, he doesn't waver.
"That's a really, really good baseball team over there, and for him to only give up three hits against that lineup, it's pretty impressive."
Diamond (3-2) was making just his fifth start since undergoing surgery in December to remove a bone chip from his left elbow. He also had faced every American League team -- aside from the recently added Houston Astros -- in his three-year career except Boston.
And it was well worth the wait.
Diamond was virtually untouchable in his first appearance at Fenway Park, allowing just three hits -- all singles -- before retiring the final 15 batters he faced. The southpaw struck out two without a walk and never allowed a runner to advance past first base as Minnesota won for just the third time in its last eight games.
"Mentally, I was just incredibly aggressive. So, I wanted to just come out of the gate and throw hard and just try to locate," said Diamond, adding he and Doumit had a solid approach entering the game. "We broke down all the hitters so well that we knew as soon we took the mound and he was behind the plate, we knew what we were going to be throwing."
Manager Ron Gardenhire's toughest call all night was pulling Diamond after 96 pitches.
"Coming off the elbow thing, we're still a little leery of it and we didn't want to push it. We'll push it a little bit later, but a great performance," Gardenhire said. "He goes over and studies the hitters as much as anybody for a young man that I've ever seen.
He knows what he wants to do, and the best part about that is he's able to execute it and get pitches where he wanted to."
Diamond felt strong after seven innings, he said, yet agreed with Gardenhire's decision to go to the bullpen.
"It's still really early," he said. "This is only my fourth or fifth start coming off the surgery, so I think it's a smart play."
The Red Sox, who have lost four of their last five games, singled to begin each of the first three innings, but they didn't reach base again until Jarrod Saltalamacchia opened the ninth with a home run off Josh Roenicke.
After doubling and scoring the first run in the fifth inning, Doumit hit his first home run since Sept. 29 with one out in the seventh, depositing a 2-2 fastball from Ryan Dempster into the first row of seats atop the Green Monster for a 2-0 lead.
"It's nice to get off the schneid," Doumit said. "You don't like looking up there on the Jumbotron and seeing a zero in the home run department."
Three errors in the eighth allowed Minnesota to blow the game open.
Third baseman Pedro Ciriaco, who replaced an injured Will Middlebrooks in the seventh, made back-to-back blunders on grounders by Brian Dozier and Jamey Carroll. Minnesota didn't wait long to capitalize, as Joe Mauer plated Dozier with a double down the left-field line and consecutive singles by Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe stretched the lead to 5-0.
A throwing error by Saltalamacchia led to another run. He was a defensive replacement for catcher David Ross, who left the game in the fifth inning after colliding with Middlebrooks on a foul pop-up.
Diamond outdueled Dempster, who was more than impressive himself. Dempster (2-3) allowed four runs -- two earned -- on five hits over seven-plus innings, striking out eight and walking one.
"The way Diamond was throwing the ball and keeping us in check," Dempster said, "you knew that eventually one run would be maybe one run too many."
David Ortiz singled to lead off the second inning, extending his hitting streak to a career-best 27 games dating to July 2. Big Papi's power surge matches the longest stretch in Red Sox history, tying Manny Ramirez's 27-game run in 2006.
NOTES: Ross left the game with a left quadriceps contusion. Middlebrooks eventually left with right side pain. ... Minnesota has gone 10 straight games without committing an error, its longest streak of the season and longest since an 11-game stretch from July 20-31, 2010. ... Patty Campbell, the mother of Krystle Campbell, who was killed in the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last month, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Morneau's second-inning single moved him past Torii Hunter and into eighth place on the Twins' career hit list. He also singled in the eighth to increase his total to 1,219.