Twins Tuesday: Kyle Gibson turns in arguably best start to date

BY foxsports • July 24, 2013

Through Kyle Gibson's first four major league starts, the Twins pitching prospect had a few good ones and a few bad ones.

Add another good one to the list. Gibson went six innings and allowed just two runs Tuesday against the Angels as Minnesota won 10-3 in 10 innings. While Gibson didn't factor into the decision and remains 2-2 in his young career, he helped keep the Twins in the game through six strong innings.

"Our kid threw the ball really well," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Gibson. "We were happy with that. We were happy with the way he went at them."

Gibson was spotted a run in the third inning when the Twins took a 1-0 lead. But that lead didn't last long, as Gibson served up a solo homer to Angels slugger Albert Pujols to open the bottom of the fourth inning. Pujols hit a 2-1 slider to his 17th homer of the year to tie the game at 1-1.

Following the Pujols at-bat, Gibson retired the next two batters when Howie Kendrick and Alberto Callaspo both grounded out. But Mark Trumbo took Gibson deep to right field for his 22nd homer of the year. Gibson had not allowed a home run in his first four starts but surrendered two of them in a span of four batters Tuesday.

Gibson calmed down from that point and followed up the two-run fourth inning by pitching a pair of scoreless innings. He retired the side in the bottom of the fifth and worked out of a jam in the sixth to exit trailing 2-1. With runners on first and second and one out, Gibson was the benefactor of an inning-ending double play off the bat of Callaspo.

That was it for Gibson, who has now pitched six innings in three of his five big league starts. Tuesday's outing may have been the best of the five. He allowed just five hits -- including the two solo homers -- and struck out four batters while walking just one. In the process, he lowered his ERA from 6.45 to 5.72.

"Kyle, he throws hard and he has a lot of movement on his ball," said catcher Chris Herrmann. "I've caught Kyle throughout the minor league system, so we know how to work with each other pretty well. I have a good idea of what he wants to throw, so we were on the same page for the most part."

Rare blown save for Perkins: Twins closer Glen Perkins has been rock solid this year for Minnesota. The left-hander earned his first trip to the All-Star Game this year after saving 21 games at the break.

Perkins recorded his first four-save out of the year in Monday's win against the Angels. One day later, however, Perkins had an uncharacteristic ninth inning. He allowed the tying run for just his third blown save of the year.

On top of that, Perkins walked three batters in the ninth inning, including a bases-loaded walk to bring in the tying run. Entering Tuesday's game, Perkins had walked just seven batters all year in 38 innings. He had only one other multiple-walk outing this year when he issued two free passes against Texas on April 27. The last time he walked three batters in one game was back on May 29 of last year.

Mauer returns to Minnesota: Twins catcher Joe Mauer was a late scratch from Tuesday's game as he returned home to Minnesota to be with his wife, Maddie. The Mauers are expecting their first children -- twins, coincidentally -- and Maddie went into labor early.

The twins were originally due in late August, but it appears as if they'll arrive sooner than expected.

No announcement has yet been made on who will replace Mauer on the Twins' 25-man roster while he is away on paternity leave. Players can spend up to three days on the paternity leave list.

With Mauer scratched late from the lineup, it meant that Chris Herrmann had the catching duties for Tuesday's game. That turned out to be a good thing for the Twins as Herrmann hit a grand slam in the top of the 10th inning to help seal Minnesota's 10-3 win.

"Joe obviously has to take care of his wife. They're having babies," Herrmann said. "Fortunately (Gardenhire) called me to get the job done behind the plate."

FOX Sports North's Jamie Hersch contributed to this report.

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