Plouffe helps erase ugly start

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 15, 2011 - 6:46 AM

The designated hitter (at least for one game) showed why the Twins called him up by hitting a two-run homer in the fifth inning to give his team the lead.

view larger photos

  

You could call it the story of the past two months: Just when it looks as if the Twins might fizzle into mediocrity, they find a way.

They authored that tale again Thursday, rebounding from 4 1/2 innings of sluggishness to deliver another happy ending. In their first game back from the All-Star break, the Twins beat Kansas City 8-4 at Target Field to put them six games back from the Central lead.

After the Twins struggled early, they constructed two four-run innings in the second half -- bolstered by newly reactivated Delmon Young and Trevor Plouffe -- to push them to their seventh victory in the past nine games.

"It wasn't the prettiest game we've ever played, but it was a win," said manager Ron Gardenhire, who has seen his team go from ruined to relevant this season. The last time the Twins were six games under .500 -- which they achieved Thursday -- was May 6, when their record was 12-18.

"We've been to a lot of different places and we prefer to not go back to where we were," Gardenhire said. "We're climbing a big mountain that we put ourselves at the bottom of. Every game is huge from here on out."

The first few innings were not played like it.

The Royals took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on two Twins errors -- a bobbled putout at second by Tsuyoshi Nishioka and a throwing error by Joe Mauer -- and a wild pitch by Francisco Liriano. In the fourth, the visiting team added another run, set up when Young failed to reach Mike Moustakas' fly ball.

"We looked really sloppy early in the ballgame and hopefully that's just from the layoff," Gardenhire said.

Until then, the Twins also looked discombobulated by Royals starter Bruce Chen -- whose pitches max out around 83 mph. They managed five hits in the first four innings, but strung none of them together, stranding seven.

Then, down 3-0 in the fifth, the Twins came alive. With two outs, Michael Cuddyer walked and Danny Valencia and Young responded with back-to-back doubles to score two. That brought up Plouffe. In his first two at-bats Chen beat him on cut fastballs inside. This time, he was expecting one. He launched a 1-2 pitch 412 feet for a two-run home run that wrapped just around the left field foul pole to give the Twins the 4-3 lead.

"I kind of knew it was coming and I got the barrel on it," he said. "I was screaming a lot louder inside than I was outside for it to stay fair."

Two innings later, the Twins sealed the deal when Royals reliever Blake Wood walked Revere with the bases loaded and then hit Alexi Casilla. Mauer punished him further, knocking him out of the game with a liner to center that scored two more to make it 8-3.

Liriano, who lasted seven innings and allowed just one earned run on seven hits, was coming off a poor outing in his last start, when he gave up five runs on six hits and walked four in 4 1/3 innings. On Thursday, he seemed to settle down from a rocky first inning, and get better as he went along -- something he's not always able to do.

"I was getting too excited in the first inning -- I was overthrowing, trying to be too perfect," he said. "I knew I what I was doing wrong, so I was able to calm down. Tonight was a battle out there for me ... but that's part of the game."

  • TWINS 8, KANSAS CITY 4

    Up next: 7:10 p.m. today vs. Kansas City • Target Field • TV: FSN (1500ESPN)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - J. Lester 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Carolina 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Dallas
Colorado 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is it the right move to replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close