KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Even after a lengthy replay, Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire still thinks the call was wrong.
No worry. When he was ejected for arguing the play in the third inning Tuesday night, it gave him a nice vantage point — a flat-screen TV and a comfy chair in the clubhouse — to see Kyle Gibson shut down the Kansas City Royals for seven innings in a tense 2-1 victory.
The play in question was Chris Parmelee’s sinking liner to left field that Alex Gordon appeared to trap while sliding. The umpires ruled it a catch, though, likely saving a run. Gardenhire quickly challenged it, only to be incensed when a review of 3 minutes, 31 seconds let it stand.
A nose-to-nose confrontation with plate umpire Ted Barrett resulted in him getting tossed.
"Honestly, I know you’re not supposed to go out there. I just wanted to find out how that happened," Gardenhire said. "That’s the part a lot of managers are trying to figure out, what did they see? I know they don’t want it to go any longer, but it’s gone on long enough.
"I was just looking for an explanation. He threw me out really quick. He was really hot."
He allowed a single by Alcides Escobar in the third inning and another by Nori Aoki in the sixth over seven dazzling innings. Gibson (9-8) was at his best his last inning, too, setting down the Royals in order in the seventh on four seemingly effortless pitches.
"I had a great view for it," Gardenhire said with a smile.
Casey Fien worked the eighth before Glen Perkins ran into trouble in the ninth, giving up a leadoff double to Omar Infante and an RBI single to Eric Hosmer. Perkins bounced back to get three straight pop outs and record his 26th save of the season.
"The loss is frustrating in general. It doesn’t matter how it is," the Royals’ Billy Butler said. "It’s not fun to lose, especially in a 2-1 game like that. We should have put up more runs."
Josh Willingham hit a sacrifice fly in the third inning and Brian Dozier provided a run-scoring single in the fifth off James Shields (9-6), who battled command all night. He threw 124 pitches — two shy of his career high — while walking four in only six innings.
Gibson, who was shelled by Tampa Bay his last time out, has made a habit of rebounding back from ugly outings. He followed a miserable performance against the Angels with a strong one against Texas, and a lousy start against the Yankees with six shutout innings against Seattle.
"I don’t know what it was tonight," he said. "I just had a lot of confidence."