Plouffe homers twice, Twins beat Royals 10-8

Published On: Jul 02 2012 09:05:42 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 02 2012 09:04:33 AM CDT
Minnesota Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Trevor Plouffe homered twice, Josh Willingham and Drew Butera had one each and the Minnesota Twins came back from four runs down to take a big lead, then held on to beat the Kansas City Royals 10-8 Sunday.

With one run already across in the sixth, Willingham hit a three-run homer to tie the game at 5. Two batters later, Plouffe hit a solo shot for his second of the day.

Plouffe also hit a solo homer in the second inning. Butera added a three-run shot in the eighth.

The home runs came off Kansas City starter Bruce Chen (7-7), who had mostly breezed through the first five innings.

Chen (7-7), who had allowed just one earned run in each of his last two starts, gave up six earned runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings. Irving Falu drove in four runs for the Royals..

Reliever Jeff Gray (4-0) got the last two outs of the sixth and the first of the seventh for Minnesota.

Brian Dozier led off the Twins' sixth with his first career triple and scored on a bunt by Denard Span. Jamey Carroll walked and Joe Mauer, Minnesota's lone All-Star representative, singled up the middle before Willingham hit a 416-foot home run, his 17th of the season.

Plouffe's second home run was his 18th of the season. Thirteen of them have come since June 1.

Span added an RBI single in the seventh, and Butera hit a three-run homer in the eighth.

Twins starter Francisco Liriano gave up five runs - four earned - in 5 1-3 innings.

Liriano said he's been more relaxed since rejoining the rotation in late May which has led to greater confidence. He was that way early, cruising through three innings but danced with danger the next three.

The left hander gave up a single to Billy Butler leading off the fourth and walked Yuniesky Betancourt two batters later, prompting a mound visit from Butera. After a single by Eric Hosmer loaded the bases, a sacrifice fly by Brayan Pena scored Butler to tie the game at 1. But Jason Bourgeois struck out to end the threat.

A double play helped Liriano escape a fifth inning jam, but he didn't get that in the sixth.

Betancourt singled with one out and Hosmer was hit by a pitch, before a batted ball by Pena deflected off Liriano for an infield single to load the bases. A single by Bourgeois off the glove of Justin Morneau scored two - the latter on an error by right fielder Darin Mastroianni who overran the ball. Liriano was replaced by Gray, who promptly gave up a two-run double to Falu.

Pena added an RBI single and Falu a two-run single in the ninth against Glen Perkins.

Butler, the Royals' All-Star, was 1 for 4, including a strikeout with two runners on in the eighth inning.

NOTES: Royals' closer Jonathan Broxton is one of the final five candidates to be voted into the All-Star Game by fans. Voting ends Thursday. ... Falu singled in the fifth to end an 0-for-17 stretch. ... Kansas City continues its 11-game, 10-day road trip Monday in Toronto with Everett Teaford (0-1, 5.06) scheduled to face Ricky Romero (8-2, 4.94). ... Minnesota sends Liam Hendriks (0-5, 6.82) to the hill Monday in the first game of a four-game series in Detroit. He'll face Doug Fister (1-5, 3.91). ... The game was the Ninth Annual Armed Forces Appreciation Day, as the Twins organization honored veterans and active service members.