If Kyle Gibson’s major league debut was memorable and his second outing was forgettable, Gibson’s third career start was somewhere in between.
The Twins right-hander allowed four runs Tuesday against Tampa Bay, all in the fourth inning, as he and Minnesota fell, 4-1, to the Rays at Tropicana Field. As a result, Gibson fell to 1-2 with a 7.27 ERA in his young career.
Gibson cruised through Tampa Bay’s lineup the first time before hitting a snag in the fourth inning. After walking just one batter in first two starts combined, Gibson issued four walks Tuesday — including three in the fourth. It began with a leadoff walk to Desmond Jennings and was followed one batter later when Luke Scott drew a walk.
From there, Gibson nearly avoided trouble when he induced a shallow fly out to center and got Evan Longoria to strike out swinging. But another walk, this time to James Loney, was followed by a Matt Joyce single and a Kelly Johnson double, both of which drove in a pair of runs. Just like that, Gibson and the Twins were down 4-0.
“I thought Gibby threw the ball well, all except one inning,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “He just lost the strike zone and ended up giving up a couple of hits and knocking in a couple runs. I thought he settled in after that.”
Indeed, Gibson calmed down after the four-run fourth. He allowed a two-out walk in the bottom of the fifth and pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning to at least help preserve the bullpen. But the Twins’ offense didn’t do Gibson many favors, as Minnesota scored just once on a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth inning.
Still, Gibson was able to get through six innings, which matches what he was able to do in his debut late last month against Kansas City.
“That was important after giving up the runs like that,” Gardenhire said of Gibson getting through six. “He was a little frustrated. … Just misfiring, putting yourself in a little bit of a jam and they get a couple of big hits. But he came back out and made some pitches when he had to, which was a good thing. He needed that, and we wanted to see that.”
Thielbar to go on bereavement list: Twins rookie reliever Caleb Thielbar will leave the team later this week as he returns to Minnesota to attend his grandmother’s funeral. He will be placed on the bereavement list and will be replaced temporarily on the roster by Michael Tonkin.
“Tough situation for Caleb and his family. All of our thoughts and prayers are with him,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told MLB.com “Caleb’s fine. He’s doing it exactly the way he wanted it to be done.”
It will be the first call-up to the majors for Tonkin, a 6-foot-7 right-hander whom the Twins took in the 30th round of the 2008 draft. The 23-year-old Tonkin has split time this year between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester. In 13 games with the Red Wings, Tonkin posted a 1.23 ERA with 16 strikeouts and just three walks in 14 2/3 innings.
Tonkin will join the Twins on Thursday. He’ll have the chance to pitch for a chance to stay in the majors, assistant general manager Rob Antony told reporters Tuesday.
“It gives us a chance to see him up here, to get his feet wet. If he performs, maybe he stays,” Antony told MLB.com. “We explained to him that this is an emergency recall situation with the bereavement. But if you go up there and throw the ball well, we’ll see what happens.”
FOX Sports North’s Kevin Gorg contributed to this report.