Plouffe hit HR No. 23 - really!

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 21, 2012 - 7:41 AM

CLEVELAND -- Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe connected for his 23rd home run Thursday, but he was one of the last people at Progressive Field to realize it.

He lost track of his sixth-inning drive, and so did Indians center fielder Michael Brantley. When Brantley raised his glove, Plouffe thought he was out and turned toward the dugout. Then he saw the umpires twirling their fingers, signaling home run.

The ball landed in the green bushes above the wall.

"It was kind of a low-to-high emotion at that point of the game," Plouffe said.

The comedic home run gave the Twins a lead, but rookie reliever Kyle Waldrop couldn't hold it, and the Indians won 4-3 in the 10th inning on Casey Kotchman's walk-off single against Anthony Swarzak.

"Kind of a bummer of a game," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Walks hurt Vasquez

Twins starter Esmerling Vasquez issued two walks to start the fourth inning, leading directly to Cleveland runs.

After Plouffe's home run, Kotchman doubled with two outs in the sixth. Leading 3-2 with Vasquez's pitch count at 91, Gardenhire turned to his bullpen.

Vasquez acknowledged he was getting tired. "Just a little bit, yeah," he said.

He is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts. Samuel Deduno, Friday's scheduled starter in Detroit, actually has a better walk rate (5.8 per nine innings) than Vasquez (6.8).

"He's got a good arm; he's got good stuff," Gardenhire said of Vasquez. "He gave us an opportunity. I thought he did a nice job."

Waldrop misses a chance

Gardenhire replaced Vasquez with Waldrop. Facing the .193-hitting Brent Lillibridge, Waldrop hit him with a pitch before St. Paul native Jack Hannahan tied it with an RBI single.

"That was disappointing, seeing [Waldrop] not throw the ball over against the first guy there," Gardenhire said.

Herrmann's near miss

The Twins asked rookie Chris Herrmann to sacrifice bunt in the ninth inning after Plouffe hit a leadoff single. Herrmann couldn't get the bunt down but came inches from hitting a go-ahead two-run homer, as Vinny Rottino made a leaping catch at the right field wall.

"Obviously the pitching's a lot better than what I've been facing all year, so that's something I'm going to have to get used to," Herrmann said.

"I mean, my last at-bat, they asked me to sac bunt and I just feel like everything was sped up and way too fast for me. Luckily I made good swing on the ball I hit to right field. The guy made a good play."

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