MINNEAPOLIS — Kyle Gibson took a shutout into the eighth inning in his longest start of the season, Zack Granite had three of the Twins’ 14 hits, and the Minnesota Twins held off a late rally to beat the Detroit Tigers 6-5 on Saturday night.
The Twins have been rumored to be searching for starting pitching as the trade deadline approaches and Gibson (6-8), who entered the game with a 6.29 ERA, was a likely candidate to be replaced in the rotation.
He looked like an ace Saturday until tiring after pitching into the eighth for the first time this season, and the Tigers rallied for five runs. Alex Presley’s ground-rule double broke up the shutout and knocked out Gibson. Justin Upton followed with a three-run homer off reliever Taylor Rogers to pull the Tigers to 6-4.
The Tigers scored again on a throwing error by Miguel Sano before closer Brandon Kintzler retired Andrew Romine on a grounder to get out of the inning. Kintzler then pitched a scoreless ninth for his 27th save.
Gibson had made two starts against the Tigers earlier this year, losing both and giving up 11 earned runs in just 6 2/3 innings. But he made that a distant memory on Saturday with a dominant performance.
Gibson got out of a first-inning jam by starting a double play on a comebacker by Alex Avila. Then he cruised through the next six innings, allowing just three baserunners. Gibson sailed through the fourth inning on six pitches, then went one better with a five-pitch fifth inning.
The Twins scored five times from the second to the fourth innings to take control, even while stranding seven runners during that stretch. Joe Mauer and Robbie Grossman drove in runs with back-to-back hits in the second off starter Jordan Zimmerman (6-8), while Sano and Eddie Rosario added to the lead with sacrifice flies.
UPTON GETS IT DONE ON D
Detroit’s deficit would’ve been much larger if Upton hadn’t come up with two huge defensive plays in left field. First, he threw out Grossman at the plate trying to score from second on Granite’s two-out single in the third. Then with Granite on first and nobody out in the fifth, Upton made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Jason Castro of an extra-base hit.
Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera sat out Saturday’s game with a right clavicle contusion. Cabrera was still sore a day after taking a bad-hop grounder off his collarbone. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Cabrera is still considered day-to-day.
Twins: LHP Glen Perkins, recovering from a shoulder injury, threw a scoreless inning for the rookie-league GCL Twins in Florida on Saturday. It was the first time Perkins had pitched in a game at any level in 13 months. Manager Paul Molitor said Perkins topped out at 90 mph and struck out two batters in the eight-pitch outing.
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd (3-5, 5.58 ERA) picked up his first victory in two months when he went six innings in a win at Kansas City on Tuesday. Boyd had been called up from Triple-A Toledo to make the start.
Twins: LHP Adalberto Mejia (4-4, 4.22) gave up one run in 5 1/3 innings against the Yankees on Tuesday. The rookie has pitched at least 5 innings in each of his last five starts.