Plouffe's slam powers Twins over White Sox
MINNEAPOLIS -- Chicago White Sox left-hander John Danks navigated the Minnesota Twins' lineup rather easily the first time through order on Sunday. The second time was a different story. Powered by a grand slam by third baseman Trevor Plouffe, th...
MINNEAPOLIS -- Chicago White Sox left-hander John Danks navigated the Minnesota Twins' lineup rather easily the first time through order on Sunday.
The second time was a different story.
Powered by a grand slam by third baseman Trevor Plouffe, the Twins scored seven runs in the third inning and pounded out 19 hits in all for a 13-3 win at Target Field on Sunday.
The win gave the Twins a four-game sweep of the White Sox (8-14), who have now lost five consecutive games.
Minnesota (13-12), which climbed over .500 after a 1-6 start to the season, has won seven of its past nine games overall and is now 3 1/2 games clear of Chicago in the American League Central Division standings.
After back-to-back singles to start the third inning, designated hitter Joe Mauer reached on an error by Danks to load the bases with nobody out. Plouffe followed with a 408-foot blast over the left-field fence for his first career grand slam.
"(Danks) got me in my first at-bat on a backdoor cutter," Plouffe said. "So I was staying out over the plate. I thought he might come back with that cutter, so I tried to stay inside that pitch. He threw the changeup and I was able to keep my hands back."
Minnesota tacked on three more runs in the inning on a two-run single by shortstop Danny Santana and an RBI single by second baseman Brian Dozier.
It was the second seven-run inning of the series for the Twins, who also did it against Chris Sale on Thursday in a 12-2 win.
"It was a nice outburst," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It was one of those games that we hit a lot of balls really well. The ball was bouncing our way and when it's bouncing your way, good things usually happen and that happened for us today."
Danks allowed seven runs, three of them earned, on eight hits over 2 1/3 innings, falling to 1-3. He also hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and committed two errors in the field.
"Pretty awful," Danks said. "I set the tone; I didn't give us a chance to win from the start. Falls all on me."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said, "He didn't pitch very well and he field his position. It was all over the place. Early on it looked alright, then they jumped on him."
The White Sox had a bases-loaded opportunity of their own in the next half inning, scoring twice when consecutive batters were hit by pitches. Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey hit three Chicago batters in all in the fourth inning and was lifted after lasting only 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a pair of walks.
"My stuff, I didn't think was good," Pelfrey said. "I'm mad I had to come out of the game. Given a 7-0 lead and I couldn't hold it. But I don't think I left (Molitor) a choice; walking a guy, hitting three guys. Not too good on my part, I lost it there and it was pretty embarrassing. We won, so at the end of the day, I'll move on and get ready for the next one."
Right-hander Ryan Pressly entered for Pelfrey and worked out of the jam allowing no more runs to score. Pressly pitched 2 2/3 perfect innings in all, striking out three and earning the victory (1-0).
Minnesota added four runs in the fourth inning on RBI singles by Plouffe, left fielder Oswaldo Arcia and catcher Chris Herrmann. Jordan Schafer scored on a throwing error by White Sox catcher Geovany Soto.
Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas added a solo homer, and right fielder Torii Hunter an RBI single in the sixth inning.
Chicago committed a season-high four errors contributing to seven unearned runs for Minnesota.
"It's a bad week, there's no way around it, we played bad baseball," Ventura said. "They were swinging it and doing everything; I don't think there was anything we were good at today. We just have to check ourselves and get back after it."
Dozier finished with a career-high four hits, including a triple, and reached base five times. He also scored a run and knocked in another.
Plouffe had three hits and a career-high five RBIs.
"I think everyone is please that after what happened at the beginning (of the season), we've been able to turn this around and win some games," Molitor said. "You gotta get greedy when things are going well. You have to try and ride these things out as long as you possibly can."