Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe hit his 23rd home run of the season Thursday against Cleveland — but it took him a while to realize it.
Plouffe tagged Indians starter Corey Kluber for a deep shot to center field on a 3-0 pitch in the top of the sixth inning. Indians center fielder Michael Brantley retreated toward the warning track as if he had the fly ball sized up. Brantley turned his back to the ball and slowed up his jog.
Plouffe thought Brantley caught the ball. He didn’t. Brantley lost the ball in the sun, and it landed over the fence in straightaway center, just to Brantley’s left, for a home run. But Plouffe started walking back toward the Twins’ dugout, thinking he had made the final out of the sixth inning.
After being told the ball went over the fence, Plouffe looked back in surprise and slowly took a few steps toward second base before resuming his home run trot.
“I thought we were waiting to see if (first base umpire) Joe West was going to overturn it or anything,” joked Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. West, working as the second base umpire in Wednesday’s game, overturned what was originally ruled a hit by Minnesota’s Joe Mauer to a lineout.
Plouffe’s homer gave the Twins a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning, but Cleveland scored a run in the bottom of the inning and later won, 4-3, in 10 innings. The home run extended Plouffe’s career high. Prior to this season, he had just 10 home runs in 103 career at-bats in 2010 and 2011. His 23rd homer Thursday is good for second-most on the Twins behind Josh Willingham, who hit his 35th of the season Wednesday.
With Thursday’s homer, Plouffe has hit two home runs at Progressive Field this season, second-most among any road park after the three he’s hit at Detroit’s Comerica Park. Fifteen of Plouffe’s 23 homers were hit at Target Field.
Of his 23 home runs this year, Thursday’s was the first in which Plouffe didn’t know he had hit one.