"It was a good game for us getting a win here in Detroit after four losses," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We kept our optimism from Ricky from what we saw from him in Spring Training. He threw the ball well. He had a little more velocity out of the chute, and you could tell his breaking pitches, both his slider and curveball, were sharp early."
Nolasco entered with a 9.00 ERA in three starts after missing nearly a month with right elbow inflammation. And while he couldn't pitch deep into the game after needing 106 pitches to record 16 outs, it was still an outing he can build on, as he struck out seven batters, including four in a row at one point.
"Obviously, I wanted to be better than that and go deeper into the game," said Nolasco, who improved to 3-1 with a 6.38 ERA. "I wasn't efficient. So you're not going to be happy after walking three guys, but I'll take it for now. I think it's a step in the right direction to where I want to be."
The offense came through for Nolasco, as they knocked Lobstein out of the game after just 2 1/3 innings to mark the worst outing of his career. Mauer provided the big hit with a three-run triple in the third before Plouffe followed with an RBI triple and Kurt Suzuki added an RBI double.
And while the Twins didn't add on, it was still an improvement from Tuesday's 2-1 loss, when they went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
"It was a little different than last night when we got that opportunity early," Molitor said. "We capitalized with some hits with runners in scoring position, Joe clearing the bases and Plouffe following with the triple of his own."