MINNEAPOLIS -- Trevor Plouffe went 118 plate appearances without a home run. Then he connected for a two-run shot off of Justin Vargas in the fourth inning of Minnesota's 10-0 victory against Seattle on Wednesday.
That blast was one of two hits on the night for Plouffe, who also ripped a two-run double to tie a career high with four RBIs -- perhaps a sign that the Twins third baseman is closer to recapturing the timing that made him one of baseball's hottest hitters earlier this summer.
Plouffe started at third base in Thursday's series finale and hit eighth, playing in his 17th game since returning from a bruised right thumb that kept him out for three weeks. The 26-year-old struggled initially, going just 2-for-33 in his first nine games back from injury.
But in seven games prior to Thursday, Plouffe hit .308 (8-for-26) with five RBIs.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said timing can be even more difficult to find after an absence for a hitter who uses a big leg kick, such as Plouffe.
"Guys that have a leg kick -- it's big," Plouffe said. "Guys that can flat-foot it and just use a little toe turn, it's easier for them. They can make adjustments. But when you pick up your foot, to get it down, yes, your timing can be screwed up for a while. Especially with layoffs. Your bat is a little longer. So a lot of things have to click."
From June 8-July 3, Plouffe hit 12 home runs in 99 plate appearances, demonstrating the type of run he can go on. After recording eight home runs and 31 RBIs in 81 games last season, he came into Thursday with 20 homers and 45 RBIs through 90 contests this year.
"But he's setting a little bit of a higher standard now," Gardenhire said. "He went off on that run when he was healthy. What's his limits? I don't know. I don't know how many he could hit if he stayed on a real good groove from day one of the season all the way through. Who knows?"