Minnesota has been in a slump as the All-Star break nears. All it took to break out of the skid was a three-home run day.
The Twins scored four runs Saturday against the Yankees, all four of which came via the longball in Minnesota’s 4-1 victory at Yankee Stadium.
Minnesota’s first hit of the day happened to clear the fences, as Trevor Plouffe connected in the second inning for his 10th homer of the year — a solo shot off Yankees starter Phil Hughes that landed in the Twins’ bullpen. Plouffe’s blast tied the game at 1-all after New York scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the first inning.
“He had his command working early in the game and he was getting his slider over and kind of pinpointing his fastball,” Plouffe said of Hughes. “On that pitch, he kind of left that one over the middle part of the plate. It’s nice to come back and get our team in the game.”
It was another homer that put Minnesota on top in the seventh inning, this time off the bat of catcher Ryan Doumit. With one out in the seventh, Doumit connected on a slider low in the zone on a 2-2 count and sent it to the right-field seats, giving the Twins their first lead of the game.
“In this ballpark, that’s a homer,” Gardenhire said of Doumit’s solo shot, which went just a few rows deep to the short porch in right field. “In our ballpark, that’s off the wall or an out, so a good ballpark for him to do that in.”
Minnesota’s third and final homer provided a couple insurance runs, and it came from an unlikely source. No. 9 hitter Pedro Florimon, who hit a two-run shot for his fifth home run of the season to make it a 4-1 Twins lead.
Florimon’s two-run shot should have been a three-run homer, but outfielder Clete Thomas was called out on the previous play when it was ruled he stepped inside the baseline before he was hit by the throw to first base by Hughes. That meant Aaron Hicks had to return to first base, so instead of batting with two runners on and nobody out, Florimon had one out and only Hicks on base.
Gardenhire came out to argue the call — he may have had a good reason to — but was ultimately tossed from the game. He had to watch the Twins’ final fireworks from the clubhouse.
That fireworks display was provided by Florimon, who fell behind Hughes 0-2 before hitting a homer deep to right on the sixth pitch of the at-bat. Florimon connected on a 79 mph slider and put Minnesota up 4-1 on the Twins’ third home run of the afternoon.
Half of the Twins’ six hits Saturday were home runs — their eighth game this season with three or more homers. Those home runs helped back starting pitcher Samuel Deduno, who allowed just one run over seven innings.
“It’s been a tough go here,” Gardenhire said. “So to get a win and see the guys smiling again is very exciting for us.”
Twins make postgame roster moves: After Saturday’s game, the Twins activated left-handed reliever Caleb Thielbar from the bereavement list and optioned right-hander Michael Tonkin to Triple-A Rochester.
Thielbar was placed on the bereavement list earlier this week to return home to Minnesota to attend his grandmother’s funeral. Tonkin, 23, made his major league debut on Thursday and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.
“We basically told Mr. Tonkin that was fun to watch,” Gardenhire said of Tonkin’s debut. “We wanted to give him a quick look up here. He’s been doing well. He’s still got some things to work on … but the kid is a big part of our future.”
FOX Sports North’s Kevin Gorg contributed to this report.