MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Ron Gardenhire spent Sunday morning discussing young shortstop Trevor Plouffe's difficulties in the field, saying he had hoped that several talks with Plouffe and a few extra drills would be enough to get him going.
If Sunday was any indicator, Plouffe has a long way to go.
Plouffe was charged with one error and could have been given two others, and the Los Angeles Angels took advantage in a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Danny Valencia also had a throwing error for the Twins, who have prided themselves for years on pitching and defense. That has all gone away during a major league-worst 17-34 start.
``It's what we've been talking about,' Gardenhire said. ``You don't make the plays and there you have it.'
Plouffe has struggled defensively since his call-up on May 4, and Gardenhire has been harping on him to be more aggressive, attack the ball and make routine plays. But his problems resurfaced again in the third inning against the Angels.
Plouffe made a backhand stop of a sharply hit grounder by Trumbo but airmailed his throw to Morneau at first base on a play that was ruled a hit. After Aybar's triple made it 2-1, Plouffe's soft throw on a grounder from Abreu pulled Morneau off the bag for an error, allowing Aybar to score for a 3-1 lead.
``I've been getting my work in and preparing for the game the same way. It just hasn't really gone my way,' Plouffe said. ``I've got to look at some video, see what I'm doing and make an adjustment. That's all I can do. I can't go back in time and fix anything right now. Just move forward.'
It was more of the same in the fifth inning when a screamer from Jeff Mathis deflected off Plouffe's glove and was ruled a base hit. Mathis stole second base and scored on a single by Aybar. Third baseman Danny Valencia also had a throwing error in the game.
The blunders hampered a decent start from Carl Pavano (2-5), who gave up five runs - four earned - on 10 hits with three strikeouts in eight innings.
``A hard day for a few people out there. Plouffie had a tough day out at shortstop,' Gardenhire said. ``Pavano pitched very well, gave us a great opportunity. We just had a bad inning out there where we didn't make the plays.'
Denard Span had two doubles and an RBI single off Walden in the ninth for Minnesota. Justin Morneau's third single of the game scored Span, but Michael Cuddyer lined out to center field with the tying run on third base to end the game.
Jason Kubel also had two hits and an RBI for the Twins.
Dan Haren (5-3) gave up three runs on 10 hits with one walk in six innings for his first victory since April 17, and Scott Downs got the Angels out of Haren's two-on, no out jam in the seventh inning. Haren left with runners on second and third and nobody out after Span's second double of the game.
Manager Mike Scioscia went to the lefty Downs, who hasn't allowed an earned run in 23 career appearances against the Twins. Plouffe scored on a groundout from Alexi Casilla, but Downs got Morneau to ground into an inning-ending double play to keep the Angels' lead intact.
``Downs did just an unbelievable job,' Haren said. ``Second and third, no outs. To only allow one run in, that's doing it out there.'
The Twins bullpen also faltered again behind Pavano, with Mark Trumbo hitting a 436-foot homer off Jim Hoey in the ninth inning, a blast that proved to be the game winner after the Twins scored two runs in the bottom of the inning.
``That was not only big,' Scioscia said. ``That was long. That ball was killed.'
NOTES: Twins DH Jim Thome had a cortisone shot in his sore shoulder Saturday night and had the day off. ... Gardenhire said LHP Francisco Liriano, who missed his scheduled start Saturday with a sore left shoulder, has a bullpen session scheduled for Tuesday. Liriano told the team he was feeling much better Sunday. If he cannot make the bullpen, he could be headed to the disabled list. ... 2B Alexi Casilla had two hits and an RBI. He has nine hits in his last 17 ABs and said he's been working on an adjustment in the batting cage. ``I'm hitting like .800 in the cage,' he quipped.
The Associated Press News Service
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