Recap: Twins score five in first inning to trounce Royals

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kyle Gibson
pitched six solid innings in his major league debut, and Trevor Plouffe
homered to help the Minnesota Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 6-2 on
Saturday.

Gibson (1-0) allowed two runs and
eight hits, and he struck out five to become the first first-round pick
in Twins history to win a start in his major league debut. He had plenty
of early help as Minnesota scored five in the first inning.

Wade Davis (4-6) was yanked after
giving up another run in the second with no one out. The one-inning
outing marked Davis’ shortest outing of the season for the Royals, who
have lost seven of 10.

The Twins made Gibson the No. 22 pick
in the 2009 draft, but his road to the big leagues was derailed when he
elbow replacement surgery in September 2011.

Gibson’s long-awaited arrival to the
Twins’ rotation came this week after starter Mike Pelfrey was placed on
the disabled list because of a strained back.

Gibson received the loudest cheers
during pregame introductions, and he delighted the crowd by striking out
slugger Billy Butler to end the first inning.

Minnesota had been outscored 74-39 in
the first inning this season, but the Twins pounced right away on Davis,
who gave up a two-run double to Justin Morneau and a two-run homer to
Plouffe.

Pedro Florimon’s RBI-single made it
5-0, and Gibson calmly handled the Royals lineup the rest of the way
with pitches that consistently reached into the 90-mph range.

Gibson allowed two runs in the third
inning on RBI singles by Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez, and he hit
Escobar in the fifth. But he worked out of several jams and recorded his
first 1-2-3 inning in the sixth thanks to some nice defense by Florimon
at short.

Brian Duensing relieved Gibson to start the seventh.

NOTES: Davis had been 3-0 in eight
career appearances against the Twins. . It took Davis 53 pitches to get
through the first inning. He threw 69 total before being relieved by
Will Smith in the second. . Plouffe stretched his hitting streak to 11
games, the second longest of his career. His highest is a 17-games spurt
from June 30-July 19, 2012. . Gibson is the eighth rookie used by the
Twins this season. . The Twins will go for the series win on Sunday when
they send right-hander Kevin Correia (6-5) to the mound. The Royals
counter with Ervin Santana (5-5).