Plouffe hits grand slam as Twins sweep White Sox

The Minnesota Twins' Trevor Plouffe watches the flight of his grand slam during the third inning.

Ann Heisenfelt/Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Extra time with his hitting coach has paid off for Trevor Plouffe.

Plouffe hit his first grand slam in the majors and drove in a career-high five runs, powering the Minnesota Twins past the Chicago White Sox 13-3 Sunday for a four-game sweep.

Brian Dozier added a career-high four hits as the Twins won for the seventh time in nine games.

Plouffe was batting .143 on April 17 but has hit .364 since. He credits much of that to working with hitting coach Tom Brunansky to find a rhythm.

"We were doing a lot of stuff with a fungo, things we hadn’t been doing previously. We did that a lot and fixed what we needed to fix," Plouffe said. "So we said let’s back off now and just go up there and hit, That’s what we’ve been doing the last couple of days."

Avisail Garcia had three hits for Chicago, which has lost five straight and been outscored 39-10 in those games.

"I don’t think there was anything we were good at today. We have to check ourselves and get back after it," manager Robin Ventura said. "You can’t go out there and lay an egg like that."

Twins 13, White Sox 3

Minnesota is above .500 for the first time since the Twins were 23-22 before play last May 24.

Ryan Pressly (1-0) pitched 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief. Starter Mike Pelfrey allowed five hits and two earned runs in 3 1/3 innings, hitting three batters and walking two.

John Danks (1-3) lasted just 2 1/3 innings and gave up seven runs — three earned — and eight hits. He also made two errors.

"It’s pretty awful," he said. "I set the tone. I didn’t give us a chance to win from the start. Falls all on me. Yeah, bad game. Wasn’t fun."

It was scoreless until Minnesota broke away by scoring seven runs in the third.

With runners on first and second, Danks couldn’t handle a throw from Adam LaRoche while covering first base for an error. Plouffe then cleared the bases with his slam, a drive into the seats in left-center field for his second home run in as many days.

"I know he’s not trying to hit home runs," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "He’s kind of one of those guys who tries to drive the ball gap to gap and when he’s getting mistakes he’s taking advantage.

Danny Santana added a two-run single past LaRoche, and Dozier had a RBI single to make it 7-0.

Photos of the Week: 4/26/15-5/2/15

Struggling with his control in the fourth, Pelfrey loaded the bases with no outs on a walk, a hit and a hit batter. With one out, Geovany Soto and Micah Johnson were each hit by pitches, finishing Pelfrey.

"I didn’t leave them much choice," Pelfrey said.

Plouffe, Oswaldo Arcia and Chris Herrmann had RBI singles in the fourth to make it 10-2.

Kennys Vargas homered in the Twins sixth.

Target Field again goes Wild: A "State of Hockey" flag was again on a plaza flagpole just below the "Twins Territory" flag as the Twins showed support for the Minnesota Wild in their NHL playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Twins also hung the flag for Friday’s first game which the Blackhawks won 4-3. Game 2 is Sunday night.

Trainer’s room: OF Oswaldo Arcia left the game in the fourth inning with right hip irritation. He is considered day to day.

Up next: Phil Hughes (0-4, 4.55) is scheduled to get the ball Monday when Minnesota opens a four-game home series against Oakland on a night the team is giving away Hughes bobbleheads. The right-hander left his last start on Wednesday with a sore left hip flexor. The A’s are scheduled to start Jesse Hahn (1-1, 2.86).