Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/18/12

Trevor Plouffe got something Sunday only baseball's best hitters get: protection. That would have been unthinkable at any other point in his major-league career, but the reality is Plouffe has been one of baseball's best hitters in June, and Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire treated him as such for Sunday's series finale against Milwaukee.

Through Saturday, Plouffe had homered nine times in June, and his two-homer performance in a 5-3 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday gave him the team lead with 14, one ahead of Josh Willingham. After the Brewers pitched around him on Saturday -- Plouffe drew three walks in a 6-2 loss -- Gardenhire decided to give him protection, putting switch-hitting Ryan Doumit behind him.

"He didn't get anything (to hit) yesterday, so ..." Gardenhire said.

Plouffe, 26, went 2-for-5 with a run scored and two walks to raise his batting average to .243 -- and .395 since June 6.

He became the 29th player in Twins history to homer in four consecutive games on Friday and already has set a team record for home runs in one season in interleague games, with six games to go starting Tuesday at Pittsburgh. On May 13, he was batting .103 with one homer and two RBI, and he entered this season with a career batting average of .226 in 103 games.

"It's hard to explain," Plouffe said. "I'm just trying to ride the wave as long as possible. I'm trying to help the team win. I'm putting good swings on pitches, laying off pitches, getting myself into better counts."

Plouffe had homered on a staggering 25 percent of his fly balls through Friday, and while that seems almost impossible to continue, his batting average on balls in play was only .208 this season -- which would imply he is bound to run into better luck than he's had. And although his power could slow down, his peripheral numbers would suggest Plouffe can continue to produce. Through Friday's games he had walked in 9.3 percent of his plate appearances, rivaling what he did at Class AAA Rochester last year, when he walked 9.6 percent of the time, hit .313 and slugged 15 homers in 51 games.

"It's fun to see him swing like he is," Gardenhire said. "We have a great view of it, sitting right there. We get to hear the crack of the bat and see the ball flying. He's sure back-spinning the heck out of the ball. It's pretty amazing, to tell you the truth. It pretty much seems like every night, he hits one (out)."

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