Plouffe slam, 5 RBIs, Twins rout White Sox for 4-game sweep
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.''
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 an RBI single to make it 7-0.
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 two is Sunday night.
White Sox: An illness continues to infiltrate the Chicago clubhouse. OF Adam Eaton has missed three straight games and was sent home Saturday. ''Hopefully, he'll be ready to go Tuesday,'' Ventura said. ''Tyler (Flowers) has that and (Adam) LaRoche had it a little bit yesterday.'' Flowers, a catcher, did not play Sunday and LaRoche started at first base but was removed in the fifth inning.
Twins: OF Oswaldo Arcia left the game in the fourth inning with right hip irritation. He is considered day to day.
White Sox: Chicago is off Monday before opening a six-game homestand Tuesday against Detroit. Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 4.78), who allowed eight runs over five innings at Baltimore last Wednesday when no fans were present, is scheduled to start Tuesday against Shane Greene (3-1, 4.60).
Twins: 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 is last start on Wednesday with a left hip flexor. The Athletics are scheduled to start Jesse Hahn (1-1, 2.86).