Plouffe lifts Twins to victory

Published 8:44 am Thursday, May 19, 2011

OAKLAND, Calif. — Trevor Plouffe was able to make amends for his mistake. Daric Barton did not.

Plouffe hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning for his season-high third RBI, helping the Minnesota Twins beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Wednesday night.

Pinch-hitter Delmon Young singled to open the inning and advanced to third when Barton tried for the force at second base on Alexi Casilla’s bunt but threw the ball into the outfield. After Denard Span grounded out, Plouffe hit a flyball to right field off Brian Fuentes (1-4).

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“That’s baseball,” Plouffe said. “Most teams will capitalize on other people’s mistakes. They did when I made the error and we did when they made the error.”

Barton came within 10 feet of tying the game in the 10th but Michael Cuddyer made the catch on the warning track, ending the game.

“I was just trying to figure out if I was going to catch it in the air or let it drop,” Barton said of his error. “I had him at second and just threw it away. Bad throw.”

Joe Nathan (1-1) got two outs for the win, pitching out of trouble in the ninth. Matt Capps got three outs for his seventh save.

“Nathan made some great pitches and that’s what we’re looking for him to do,” Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We have been keeping him away from situations to let him get his feet wet but it’s time to push the envelope. We need him to make big pitches in the seventh and eighth innings.”

Justin Morneau also drove in a run for the Twins, who have won two straight following a nine-game losing streak.

“As easy as you lose games you can win games,” Plouffe said.

Kevin Kouzmanoff drove in two runs and Hideki Matsui added an RBI single for the A’s, who fell a game behind Texas at the top of the AL West.

“When you play that close, that late, you have to do everything right to win,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “I never believe one play here or there necessarily wins a game when you play 27 or even 30 outs.”