Trevor Plouffe went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBI to help the Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers, 6-3, in the middle contest of a three-game set at Target Field.
On his 27th birthday and first game off the disabled list, Plouffe had a solid performance at the plate, smashing a two-run homer and a double among his three hits. Joe Mauer had two RBI and Brian Dozier added one as well.
"It's just good to be back," Plouffe said. "We wanted to win this game and I wanted to contribute any way I could."
Samuel Deduno (3-1) had a solid outing for the Twins, yielding just two runs on seven hits over seven frames.
Darin Downs (0-2) took over in the fourth for Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez, who missed his last scheduled start due to shoulder stiffness, with the game tied at 2-2. Downs surrendered three runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
Jhonny Peralta had two RBI for the Tigers, who lost for just the third time in their last nine games.
"We actually swung the bats pretty good, I thought, we just didn't score enough runs," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We kind of let it get away a little bit."
Miguel Cabrera was hit by pitch to start the fourth inning, followed by a Prince Fielder single to put runners on the corners with no outs. A groundout moved Fielder to second and both were driven in by a Peralta single up the middle to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Minnesota answered in the home half of the fourth with a two-run shot to left from Plouffe, after a Justin Morneau single to start the inning.
Sanchez lasted just 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season, allowing two runs on five hits and four walks.
Plouffe connected on a line drive double to left and Chris Parmelee singled to start the sixth inning. Dozier's RBI single on a ground ball to left gave the Twins the lead.
After a Pedro Florimon sacrifice bunt and a strike out, Mauer delivered a two- out, two-run line drive to extend the lead to 5-2.
Oswaldo Arcia doubled off Evan Reed in the seventh and crossed the plate on a Plouffe single to left field to increase the cushion to four for Minnesota.
Detroit got a run back in the eighth. After a Cabrera double, Fielder reached on a throwing error by Florimon that also allowed Cabrera to score from second.
Glen Perkins worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his 16th save of the season.
Sanchez has allowed just five home runs in his last 17 starts dating back to last season ... Detroit was 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position ... Plouffe extending his hitting streak to nine games ... Peralta has hit safely in 45 of his last 55 games.