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Associated Press, Published June 15 2013

Plouffe's return sparks Twins to win over Tigers

MINNEAPOLIS – Trevor Plouffe had been pushing for a while to get back into the Minnesota Twins lineup. The timing of his return turned out to be perfect against the Detroit Tigers.

Plouffe celebrated his 27th birthday on Saturday with three hits, including a two-run homer, in the Twins’ 6-3 win over the Tigers.

In his first game after missing 22 because of a concussion and left calf strain, Plouffe was a triple shy of the cycle.

“I like swinging up here,” Plouffe said. “It’s good to be back. I’ve been itching to come back and be back with the boys, especially this series against the Tigers. It’s a big series for us whenever we play them. I’m just happy to be back.”

With Plouffe providing the offensive spark, Twins starter Samuel Deduno (3-1) won his third straight decision since being recalled in May. He has allowed only five earned runs in his last five starts.

Deduno gave up two runs and seven hits in seven innings. Glen Perkins added his 16th save in 18 chances.

Plouffe provided some long-awaited production from third base for Minnesota. Jamey Carroll and Eduardo Escobar had split time at third during Plouffe’s absence and went 10-for-89 (.112) with no home runs.

Plouffe had returned from a concussion on May 30, and was scheduled to be in the starting lineup then, but he injured a calf before the game and went back on the disabled list.

“He stepped right back in there, and that’s what they said down there,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said of reports he received on Plouffe from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester.

A first-round pick by the Twins in 2004, Plouffe has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency throughout his career. He started to show promise last year during a mid-summer power surge and finished with 24 home runs in 422 at-bats.

But the injuries, especially to his legs, continued to nag him, which led to changing his warmup routine before Saturday’s game. Plouffe said he has started a routine in which he rides an exercise bike for 10 minutes to warm up his legs.

Plouffe – who homered twice on his birthday last year – nearly homered a second time Saturday, but the ball hit high off the left-field fence, and he was thrown out at second base.

“One thing I didn’t come back with is more speed, so I realized that pretty quick,” Plouffe said.

Detroit Minnesota

ab r h bi ab r h bi

AJcksn cf 4 0 2 0 Thoms cf 5 0 2 0

Dirks lf 4 0 0 0 Mauer dh 4 0 1 2

MiCarr 3b 3 2 1 0 Doumit c 4 0 1 0

Fielder 1b 4 1 2 0 Mornea 1b 4 1 2 0

VMrtnz dh 3 0 0 0 Arcia lf 3 1 1 0

JhPerlt ss 3 0 1 2 Plouffe 3b 3 2 3 3

D.Kelly rf 3 0 2 0 Parmel rf 4 1 2 0

TrHntr ph 1 0 0 0 Dozier 2b 3 1 1 1

Infante 2b 4 0 0 0 Flormn ss 3 0 1 0

Avila c 3 0 0 0

B.Pena ph 1 0 0 0

Totals 33 3 8 2 Totals 33 6 14 6

Detroit 000 200 010— 3

Minnesota 000 203 10x— 6

E—Florimon (7). DP—Detroit 2, Minnesota 2. LOB—Detroit 6, Minnesota 8. 2B—Mi.Cabrera (16), Fielder (18), D.Kelly (3), Arcia (9), Plouffe (10), Parmelee (7). HR—Plouffe (5). S—Florimon.

IP H R ER BB SO

Detroit

Ani.Sanchez 3Xc 5 2 2 4 3

D.Downs L,0-2 2Zc 5 3 3 0 4

E.Reed 1 3 1 1 0 0

Putkonen 1 1 0 0 0 1

Minnesota

Deduno W,3-1 7 7 2 2 1 2

Burton 1 1 1 0 1 0

Perkins S,16-18 1 0 0 0 0 1

HBP—by Deduno (Mi.Cabrera). WP—Deduno.

T—2:42. A—35,071 (39,021).