Dozier shows All-Star power in first at-bat

Twins second baseman, Plouffe provide all the pop in win

Dozier shows All-Star power in first at-bat

OAKLAND -- It was only fitting that the Twins' unsung duo of Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe powered the Twins to a 5-0 win over the A's to open the second half of the season Friday night.

Dozier, fresh off his last-minute addition to the All-Star Game that saw him hit a homer for the American League, led off the game with a blast off A's right-hander Sonny Gray. Five innings later, Plouffe connected on his second career grand slam to give the Twins and right-hander Ervin Santana some breathing room.

"It was kind of a tall order coming out here on the road and facing Sonny," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He kind of settled in after Dozier got us off to a great start. His roll continues. … And when you go from one run to five runs in one swing that's a big differential. So that was a huge hit for us."

It was the team-leading 20th homer for Dozier, who also leads the Twins with 51 RBIs. Plouffe became the second Twins player to reach 50 RBIs with his grand slam, which was his 12th blast of the year.

"I was just trying to put one in the air to get the run in," Plouffe said. "He came back with a slider and to be honest, I thought it was a sac fly with the way [left fielder Ben] Zobrist went after it. I think it was a little wind-aided out there.

Dozier, Plouffe on 5-0 win

It was a rare feat for it to come against Gray, who had served up just five homers all year and had allowed more than one homer in a start just once in his career. It was also the first time he'd ever given up a grand slam and it came on an 0-2 slider that ended up high in the zone.

"With the one run you never know if it'll hold up, so you try to add on," Molitor said. "Dozier had the leadoff walk, Torii [Hunter] got the hit and then [Miguel] Sano had another one of those at-bats we've seen multiple times here, where during a rally, he draws a walk and gives the guy behind him a chance. Trevor got a breaking ball there and I didn't know if it had enough to get out but it was enough to get us one run and it ended up carrying into the stands."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.