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Plouffe, There It Is! Twins Dump Red Sox, 9-2

It took a while for Trevor Plouffe to get his turn at shortstop for the Twins this season. If he continues playing like this, it's going to take a much longer while for anybody to displace him.

Minnesota's latest shortstop went 2-for-4 on the night, including a home run, and scored three times as the Twins amassed their second-highest run total of the year in defeating the Boston Red Sox 9-2 on Friday night in Boston.

Plouffe got things started for the Twins with a solo home run off of Tim Wakefield (0-1, 5.73 ERA) in the top of the first. Minnesota extended their lead to 4-0 in the top of the second after the Twins loaded the bases with nobody out. With the bases loaded, Drew Butera flew out to right field and Alexi Casilla struck out, making it look like the Twins might squander the opportunity. Denard Span wouldn't let that happen, however, as he laced a single to right field to score Michael Cuddyer and Danny Valencia and allow Ben Revere to advance to third. Revere then trotted home after Wakefield was called for a balk when it appeared Span had been picked off of first base.

The balk call incensed Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who charged out of the dugout to argue with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez, who made the call. In the midst of the argument, Francona bumped Hernandez, getting himself ejected and likely earning himself a vacation from managing in the process.

The Red Sox closed the gap to 4-2 thanks to solo home runs by J.D. Drew (in the second) and Adrian Gonzalez (in the fourth), but the Twins struck for four more runs in the top of the fifth to make the score 8-2. Plouffe scored the final run in the top of the sixth on another balk call on the Red Sox, this one against reliever Alfredo Aceves.

Scott Baker (2-2, 2.97) pitched eight solid innings on the evening, scattering seven hits and allowing the two solo home runs for all of the Red Sox scoring. Joe Nathan came on for the ninth inning and faced four batters, sandwiching a walk to Kevin Youkilis in-between retiring the heart of the Red Sox lineup.

The same two teams will get together tomorrow, with the Twins looking for what would be a season-best fourth consecutive win. Right-hander Clay Buchholz (2-3, 4.81 ERA) will take the hill for the Red Sox, and the Twins will send lefty Brian Duensing (2-1, 2.91) to the mound. First pitch will be early, as it is scheduled for 12:10 PM Central time.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.