Standing out in the Twins' offensive bodyslamming of Milwaukee on Friday night at Target Field was the performance of newly arrived rookie Trevor Plouffe (rhymes with "Roof"). The former first round draft pick from California acquitted himself well, going 2 for 5, with his first hit (single), first double and 2 RBI's in his first major league game. He also handled the first two chances of the game, recording assists both times.
Bravo and good show, young man! Feel free to call up Grandma Plouffe with all the great stuff!
No less than four Twins had three hit nights (see box summary), including Denard Span, Orlando Hudson, Justin Morneau and Delmon Young. Jason Kubel "quietly" drove in 4 runs, no doubt embarassed about the lousy performance he's given me this season on my fantasy baseball team, the Tony-O Tanglers (good start towards atonement!). With his grandslam earlier this week against the Yankees [BOO!] and Mariano Rivera, at least I know he cares!
Nicolai Blackburn pitched excellently, showing the stuff that made Milwaukee hate. Joe Mauer showed his professionalism and quality of sympathy by grounding into two double plays, letting the Brewers off the hook.
Plouffe has been more noteworthy for striking out and making errors during his journey through the minor leagues, but has improved markedly in both departments the last two years at the AAA level. He was placed at shortstop to replace Alexi Casilla (gosh dang it!), who has experienced elbow soreness of late.
Milwaukee's only runs scored on a three - run stink bomb off the bat of former Twins speed merchant, Carlos Gomez. The Milwaukee centerfielder then proceeded to use the ocassion to showboat, flipping his bat as if he had just won the game with his one brazen hack. This, after the Twins did their usual professional best of not piling on or strutting, even after battering Brewers starter Dave Bush to a bloody pulp (he didn't get out of the first inning).
[UPDATE: SATURDAY, 5-22-10]: I didn't see it last night during the game broadcast, but Gomez apparently cold-cocked catcher Joe Mauer on the follow through and release of his homerun swing. He, of course, was oblivious to the fact, giving Mauer the finger wag "shhhh" when the All-Star catcher kindly told him to mind his p's and q's. He did show contriteness when informed of what happened upon his return to the visitors dugout, promising to apologize for his lunkheaded actions.
This behavior comes as naturally to this otherwise likeable young fellow as does breathing, or thinking he's seen ghosts, as he did visiting a Milwaukee hotel while with the Twins last year. Seems his Ipod mysteriously turned on by itself, sending him scurrying for the safety of coach Jerry White's bunk. The little girly man. Incidentally, his career stats compare closely (to age 23) with the immortal Pepe Mangual. Exactly!
It may be interesting to see if the Twins will retaliate for his fine piece of professionalism later in the three game series, perhaps helping to plant his backside on the ground with an "errant" pitch. The Twins will probably let him get by, however, with a stern shaving cream pie delivered free of charge to the side of his head - traditional baseball hijinx given hotdogs!