Trevor Plouffe gets a hand from third base coach Joe Vavra after Plouffe hit a two-run home run during the fourth inning Saturday

David Joles, DML - Star Tribune

Samuel Deduno went seven strong innings against Detroit.

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Plouffe's return, Deduno's pitching spark Twins in 6-3 win

  • Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • June 16, 2013 - 7:13 AM

 Third baseman Trevor Plouffe was back in the lineup Saturday after a four-game rehabilitation stint at Class AAA Rochester. No one doubted his health. What the Twins needed to know was if Plouffe’s swing could cure their sickly offense.

Uh, yeah, the bat is doing well, too.

Plouffe announced his return with authority, swatting a two-run homer and driving in three runs as the Twins beat the Tigers 6-3. The Twins went ten consecutive games without scoring at least five runs before their 14-hit attack on Saturday. Plouffe, who turned 27 on Friday, finished 3-for-3 with a homer, double and walk.

“They said he was getting after it pretty good and how good his swing looked,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Detroit righthander Anibal Sanchez, who took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Twins on May 24 in Comerica Park, was knocked out in the fifth inning on Friday at Target Field. Twins righthander Samuel Deduno walked just one batter over seven innings as he improved to 3-1.

The Twins got a big lift from their defense, as two Tigers runners were thrown out at home plate. That included Prince Fielder in the sixth inning as he tried to score from second on Don Kelly’s single to right. Chris Parmelee collected the ball and threw a strike to Ryan Doumit, who applied the tag. Replays showed that Fielder missed the plate.

“We were screaming at him, ‘throw him out,’ ” Gardenhire said. “Fortunately, he got rid of it quickly.’’

Plouffe is returning to action after straining his left calf muscle on May 29. He missed a stretch of games during spring training because of a strained left calf.

There has to be a better way to prepare for games, he thought.

“I realized that I needed to make some changes in my pregame routine and make sure I can stay in the lineup as much as possible,” Plouffe said.

So he’s riding a bike and stretching differently to get loose before games.

“I’ve pulled two calves already this year,” said Plouffe, who is batting .254 with four home runs and 17 RBI. “ So you gotta change something. You can’t do the same thing over and over again.”

If he’s going to go on a power surge — like the one he went on last season when he hit 24 home runs — he’ll need to stay on the field as much as possible.

With the Twins trailing 2-0 in the fourth, Plouffe connected with a 0-1 pitch from Sanchez and hit a two-run home run over the left-center field wall, an estimated blast of 415 feet.

“He backspinned that ball pretty well,” Gardenhire said.

Plouffe started off the sixth with a double to left, which was followed by a single by Chris Parmelee. Brian Dozier followed with a single as Plouffe scored to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

Pedro Florimon bunted the runners over to second and third — the way the Twins offense has struggled, they are trying anything. Clete Thomas struck out, but Joe Mauer lined a two-run single to left as the Twins took a 5-2 lead.

Plouffe wasn’t done — it was his birthday, remember — as he drove Oswaldo Arcia in with a single to left. He was thrown out at second trying stretch it to a double.

Plouffe must like swinging on his birthday — he hit two home runs the day he turned 26.

“I just like swinging up here,” Plouffe said.


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