Twins bats go off again: 'Everyone felt this is how we could play'
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Behind yet another offensive outburst by Trevor Plouffe, the Minnesota Twins outslugged the Philadelphia Phillies 11-7 on Tuesday night at Target Field.
The Twins offense, collectively, drew four walks and tallied 17 hits, including five doubles and home runs by Trevor Plouffe, Josh Willingham and Denard Span, who led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo shot.
The 11-run outburst marked the fifth time since mid-May the Twins have scored at least 10 runs in a game.
"Plouffe had a heck of a night, Jamey Carroll, Span got us all on the right foot with a big home run going in," manager Ron Gardenhire said, "and all the way up and down the lineup those guys did some pretty good things. So a fun night."
Equipped with a 5-0 lead, Twins starter Nick Blackburn ran into trouble in the top of the fourth inning. He issued a leadoff walk to Jim Thome, who advanced on a wild pitch then later scored after back-to-back groundouts.
With two outs and nobody on base Blackburn appeared to control the damage, but three straight sharp groundball singles by Carlos Ruiz, Mike Fontenot and Michael Martinez made it 5-2.
Once again, it looked like Blackburn was in position to get out of the inning, but well-placed, lazy fly ball off the bat of Jimmy Rollins bounced off left fielder Josh Willingham's glove and landed just inside the chalk line for a two-RBI double, cutting the Twins lead to 5-4.
Blackburn left after five innings and 95 pitches. He was charged with four earned runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out one. But his outing came with some bad luck, as the right-hander induced 15 grounders out of 21 batted balls.
"I'm going to give up a lot of hits that are groundball hits," Blackburn said. "All I can hope for is they hit it at somebody. Obviously not going to happen every time. So that's definitely a positive that I'm still getting the groundballs and showing that I have the good movement and all that stuff. But I need to start throwing more strikes and being more pitch efficient and getting deeper into games."
Thome, in his first game back at Target Field since joining the Phillies last offseason, delivered a two-out, two-run single in the top of the sixth off Alex Burnett to cut the Twins lead to 8-7.
Willingham found the bullpen with a solo homer off left-hander Joe Savery in the bottom of the sixth, and Carroll drove home Plouffe with a single in the seventh for the Twins' 10th run. Revere singled shortly after to make it 11-7.
"Every time I come back up (to bat) Plouffe is dropping bombs every day, and (Jamey) Carroll is just hitting doubles everywhere," said Ben Revere, who went 3-for-5 with three singles and two RBIs. "They've been killing the ball. Not just those guys, everybody. It was a great team effort."
Jared Burton pitched a scoreless seventh inning, Glen Perkins a scoreless eighth -- with two more strikeouts -- and Matt Capps tossed a 1-2-3 ninth.
"Coming out of spring training I think everyone felt this is how we could play, and we knew it," Plouffe said. "Baseball's a lot more fun when you're winning. I think we're confident as a team right now."
Mauer's double off the wall in the fourth inning provided an immediate jolt after the Phillies nearly took the lead in the top half of the inning.
The Twins went on to score in three consecutive innings after that.
5: Career leadoff homers for Span.
10: Home runs for Plouffe.
12: Home runs for Willingham.
6: The number of times the Twins have scored at least 10 runs in a game this season.
Eddie Rosario, one of the Twins' top prospects, was hit in the face with a batted ball during batting practice and will likely be sidelined for a few weeks. Rosario was hitting .293/.362/.473 with seven home runs for Beloit as of Monday.