Keeping pace: Twins top Indians in Game 1 of doubleheader
CLEVELAND — Kyle Gibson wants to be known for excelling in key moments, and he came through Wednesday in his most important start yet.
Gibson (11-11) threw six shutout innings and Torii Hunter had a three-run double as the Minnesota Twins gained ground in the AL wild-card race, winning their fourth straight with a 7-1 victory over the fading Cleveland Indians in the first game of a doubleheader.
”I don’t know how long I’m going to pitch in this game, but I’d love to have the reputation of having success in big games,” Gibson said. ”I don’t know that this really starts that reputation at all, because it’s still the regular season, but it’s fun to pitch in games that mean something.”
Joe Mauer and Byron Buxton hit solo homers for Minnesota, which entered play trailing the Angels by 1½ games for the AL’s second wild card.
The loss dealt another setback to Cleveland’s slim playoff hopes. The Indians enter the nightcap six wins behind the Angels with six games left.
Gibson wasn’t affected by having his start pushed back by Tuesday night’s rainout. The right-hander struck out nine, matching a career high, and held Cleveland to four hits.
Carlos Carrasco (14-12) was roughed up in his final start of the season, allowing five runs in three-plus innings. The right-hander, who pitched a one-hitter with a career-high 15 strikeouts against Kansas City last week, faced six hitters in the fourth.
The Indians announced before the game that left fielder Michael Brantley has been shut down for the season because of a sore right shoulder.
Rookie Buxton hit his second major-league home run in the ninth and had two RBI.
Gibson was coming off a rocky outing against the Indians last week when he allowed six runs in a season-low 2 2/3 innings.
”When you get to this point in the season, anytime you can go out there and put up some zeros and the offense goes out there and does what they do, it’s a good day,” Gibson said.
Mauer homered to dead center in the first. Carrasco retired the next eight hitters before getting rocked in the fourth. After Mauer and Miguel Sano singled, Trevor Plouffe’s RBI single made it 2-0. Eddie Rosario walked, and Hunter’s double scored all three runners.
”I was supposed to throw down and inside to him, but I missed, and he hit me,” Carrasco said.
Carrasco’s solid season ended on a down note, but he recorded career highs in wins, innings pitched (183) and strikeouts (216).
Jason Kipnis drove in Cleveland’s only run with a seventh-inning single.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes (virus) and RHP Trevor May (back) both feel well enough to work out of the bullpen. Hughes was scratched from his Monday start, while May last pitched on Sept. 26.
Indians: 3B Giovanny Urshela (sore right shoulder) could return to the lineup Thursday. He hasn’t played since Sept. 17.
Twins: RHP Tyler Duffey has not lost in his last eight starts, going 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA. He went six shutout innings in a 4-1 win over the Indians on Aug. 15.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer returns to the rotation in order to give RHP Josh Tomlin an extra day between starts. Bauer only made one appearance in relief.