His knee wrapped in ice and a smile across his face, Trevor Plouffe was more relieved than anything after the Minnesota Twins beat the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night.
For one night, any physical pain or frustration from lack of production was an afterthought.
Plouffe hit a two-run homer and drove in the go-ahead run with a double off the right-field wall to help Minnesota keep up its power binge in a 7-5 victory over Miami.
”I just want to contribute to wins and I haven’t been doing that lately,” Plouffe said. ”Tonight was a good, overall team win for us and just happy that I contributed today.”
Joe Mauer and Byung Ho Park added solo home runs for the Twins, who tied a season high with four homers in the opening game of the series on Tuesday and have hit 12 home runs in the last six games.
Taylor Rogers (2-0) pitched one inning, and six relievers combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Brandon Kintzler earned his first career save in place of struggling closer Kevin Jepsen.
”He’s made his mark for sure,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Kintzler. ”We kind of have had some discussions around here about how we’re having to use our bullpen, and we’re having to mix and match. I don’t know if it’s classic bullpen by committee, but we’ve kind of changed roles here in the short term and give some people some opportunity.”
Ichiro Suzuki had three hits for the Marlins to come within 29 of 3,000 for his major league career. Reliever Nick Wittgren (1-1) gave up two runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Plouffe hit his first home run in 20 games, a towering shot to left field with Mauer aboard in the third. Plouffe had hit .220 in 26 games since being activated off the disabled list on May 3 from a right intercostal strain.
Also dealing with a troublesome knee, Plouffe said the pain started to affect him mentally, as well.
”I think lately I’ve been letting it kind of creep into my mind a little too much,” Plouffe said. ”Today, I took all the precautions, did all the rehab and stuff that I need to do, but during the game I didn’t wear this sleeve I’ve been wearing on my knee, and I just thought maybe that would take it out of my mind. Who knows if it did, but look what happened. I’m not going to wear it tomorrow, either.”