Remember when Trevor Plouffe's offense was dubious at best and his defense was suspect at best? That's not so much the case anymore. Plouffe not only led the charge against Chicago this afternoon with a big grand slam in a seven-run third inning, but he showed some defensive chops as well.
The game started innocuously enough, but in the bottom of the third all hell broke loose. Well, if you're a White Sox fan. If you're a Twins fan, it was glorious. Brian Dozier and Torii Hunter were both on with singles by the time John Danks had thrown two pitches. Eight pitches later, Plouffe's line drive cleared the fence in left-center. But it didn't stop. It just...didn't...stop. Four singles and Chicago's second error later it was 7-0.
Mike Pelfrey's game didn't start too badly. He was through the first in 11 pitches and the second in seven. He put a couple of guys on in the third with a single and a walk, but no harm done. In the fourth, though, it was like Pelfrey forgot how to pitch. He walked Adam LaRoche to lead it off, Avisail Garcia singled, and then Pelfrey proceeded to hit not one, not two, but three...three...batters. The last two forced in a run, making the game 7-2 with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the fourth.
Paul Molitor pulled Pelfrey at that moment. Chicago was one base hit away from being back in the game. Whether Pelfrey is hurt or his arm just decided to betray him, we'll have to wait and see. But it was a hat trick nobody wanted.
Ryan Pressly proved why he'd had such a good first two seasons with Minnesota, and why he probably deserved more consideration for the opening day bullpen than he received. With the Twins' seven-run lead on the verge of imploding, Pressly got J.B. Shuck to fly out and struck out Melky Cabrera and a sharp breaking ball on the outer black. The White Sox were dead in the water from that moment on.
The Twins kept scoring. The White Sox continued their comedy of errors. Imagine the worst that a Major League team could possibly play (you can probably pick out one or two Twins games from the last four years); that was Chicago. Passed balls. Bad decisions. Terrible throws. It was quite literally the worst.
Minnesota added four more runs in the fourth. Kennys Vargas hit a line drive home run to dead center field in the sixth. Later that inning, with the bases loaded, Torii Hunter drove in a run by singling off of Zach Putnam's butt. It was that kind of day.
It was a big win today, in more ways than the 13-3 score. The Twins are now 13-12, and are over .500 for the first time since May 23 of last year; 345 days ago. In spite of a roster that's far from complete and has a lot of issues to overcome, the Twins are 12-6 in their last 18 games. They're (usually, not today) getting just enough runs to get by. They're getting better results from the starting pitching. Yes, Minnesota maybe hasn't looked like a 12-6 team at times over the last three weeks, but they've still won.
And hey - if you missed today's game: you really missed out. Because it is always, always a shit ton of fun to pound the White Sox.
- Trevor Plouffe racked up five RBI today. He's hitting .325 in his last ten games.
- Oswaldo Arcia is on a six-game hitting streak, bumping his average up to .276.
- Danny Santana only notched one hit in today's blowout, but in his last ten games has raised his batting average 67 points. And he also made one hell of a diving stop in the seventh inning, when the game's outcome was already well in hand. This is a great example of why he continued to start even when he struggled a bit to start the season. Let's hope his upswing continues.
- Pressly announced his presence with authority. Not only did he deliver the Twins and Pelfrey from the jaws of a potentially dangerous fourth inning, but he was able to get through 2.2 innings in 32 pitches. That meant Minnesota still only had to use three relievers in spite of Pelfrey's 3.1 innings.
- J.R. Graham doesn't make it look pretty, but Molitor has again said that he'll be a member of the bullpen all season and he continues to keep base runners from scoring. In 7.2 innings (seven appearances), he's allowed nine hits and five walks while striking out just five - but he still owns a 2.35 ERA. ERA is a terrible indicator of future performance, of course, but it's a good indicator of how may runs you're giving up. And on that front, Graham continues to survive.
|less cowbell, more 'neau
COMMENT OF THE GAMETHREAD
MNWildcat: "How about a Plouffe slam?"
NO DUDS, SWEEEEEEEPPP!!