Found April 12, 2014 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS -- On a night when the Minnesota Twins needed their starting pitcher to go deep into the game, Kyle Gibson delivered. And through two starts, Gibson has pitched more like an ace than a No. 5 starter. Granted, it's early to throw such labels onto the Twins' 26-year-old right-hander. But following arguably the best start of the year by a Minnesota pitcher, Gibson has looked much better than a player who had to win a job in spring as the fifth starter in the rotation. Twins starters now have just two wins through 10 games, and both of them belong to Gibson. He picked up win No. 2 in Friday's 10-1 victory over Kansas City. Gibson went 6 1/3 innings -- the longest outing by a Minnesota starter so far this year -- and allowed just one run on four hits. The 6 1/3 innings also happened to be the longest start of Gibson's young major league career. "It's no secret that we know our starting pitching's going to get better," said Twins bench coach Terry Steinbach, serving as the acting manager with Ron Gardenhire absent from Friday's game. "Hopefully this is a step in the right direction. For Gibby to go out there today and pitch like he did and one, eat up some innings and two, put us in a really, really good chance to win a game was something we definitely needed." Gibson played the role of stopper in Friday's series opener at Target Field. The Twins' victory snapped a few losing streaks, including a nine-game skid at home that dated back to the end of last season. It was also Minnesota's first win against the Royals at Target Field in eight tries. More importantly, though, was the shot in the arm Gibson's outing gave to a pitching staff that has been a bit slow out of the gates. His quality start Friday was just the second such outing for a Twins pitcher through 10 games, tied for the fewest in all of baseball. He was also the first Minnesota starter to pitch into the seventh inning, which helped preserve the Twins' bullpen. "I think it's still early. We've got a lot of good starting pitching," Gibson said. "I think the Twins fans are going to be pretty happy at the end of the year when the rotation looks like it looks. I don't think it's anything to worry about. I think every starter goes out there with the mind to go deep. Just about each starter's been a couple pitches away from going deep into the game." It appeared early in Friday's game as if Gibson's night might not last long -- or at least not as long as it did. He allowed a one-out single to Omar Infante in the top of the first inning after getting ahead of Infante 0-2. Eric Hosmer followed that up with a single to left, and a wild pitch by Gibson allowed Infante to advance to third. That allowed Infante to score on a groundout by Billy Butler, putting Gibson and the Twins in an early 1-0 deficit. Butler's groundout could have ended the inning, but Minnesota shortstop Pedro Florimon bobbled the ball and couldn't turn the double play that would have gotten Gibson out of a jam. Instead, Gibson needed 13 more pitches -- 28 total in the inning -- to finally get oufo the first with just one run on the board. From there, however, Gibson settled into a groove. He erased a leadoff double by Mike Moustakas in the second inning by retiring the next three batters he faced. Gibson then induced three ground ball outs in the third and had no trouble getting through the fourth and fifth innings. A leadoff walk in the sixth to Butler was negated one pitch later when Alex Gordon grounded into a double play. In all, Gibson tallied 10 ground ball outs compared to just three fly ball outs. His sinker was working early and often, and he said his changeup helped keep the Royals hitters honest against his fastball. "Kansas City's a good hitting team, and one thing they don't let you do is they don't let you live on one side of the plate," Gibson said. "Moving the fastball in and out on all the lefties and even the righties I think is one thing that really helped." Gibson entered spring training as one of several candidates for Minnesota's fifth and final spot in the starting rotation. The Twins knew that Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey were essentially set in stone as the top four starters. But Gibson had to battle with Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley for a big league job. Following a strong spring in which he posted a 2.20 ERA with seven strikeouts and three walks in 16 ⅓ innings, the job of No. 5 starter was Gibson's to begin the 2014 season. He validated the Twins' decision in his season debut by allowing just one run on three hits in five innings of work against Cleveland. "I went into spring training just trying to throw the ball well," Gibson said. "I think the thing for me is, had I gone into spring training fighting for that spot and note thrown well, I wouldn't have gotten the job. I just tried to make the decision as hard as possible for them and throw the ball well and hopefully get the spot." Gibson one-upped his season debut with Friday's start. Now the hope is that he and the rest of the starting staff can build off of that performance. Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Twins Friday: Willingham sent to DL

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins were hopeful that left fielder Josh Willingham could avoid the disabled list after getting hit in the hand with a pitch on Sunday. But Willingham wasn't making the progress he'd hoped after taking swings in the cage, so he will indeed be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a hand contusion, assistant general manager Rob Antony said Friday...

Minnesota Twins: Colabello contributes hot bat to lineup

Target Field While the Minnesota Twins still struggle to see a record above .500, designated hitter and first baseman Chris Colabello has been nothing but determined to help the team reach that goal and a possible chance at postseason. At 30 years old, Colabello was not within immediate eyesight for any Major League roster following school. Graduating from Assumption College in 2005...

How the Minnesota Twins will make the playoffs

Brian Dozier The last time the Minnesota Twins reached the postseason was the year 2010. They had a comfortable six-game lead over the Chicago White Sox in the standings and were the only team in the division to finish with over 90 wins. This year, the Twins have started to turn their rough start to the season around as they hope to reclaim the division and head to the playoffs....

Twins Thursday: Mastroianni grateful for return to big leagues

MINNEAPOLIS -- For most players, a demotion during spring training is a disappointment. Not for Darin Mastroianni. He welcomed it. The Twins outfielder was reassigned to minor-league camp on March 16, two weeks before the end of camp. He went down to Fort Myers hoping to win a spot on the 25-man roster as the fourth outfielder. But as he continued to work his way back from an ankle...

I think Minnesota just needed to let loose

The Twins haven’t been to, let alone won a World Series since 1991. The Vikings haven’t ever won the Super Bowl, and haven’t been since the 70s. There is no Stanley Cup in the Minnesota past and the NBA hasn’t been good to Minnesota since the Lakers left. The University of Minnesota is the only college game in town, and the basketball team made a run to Final Four in 1998...

Twins notes: Mastroianni feeling good after stint in minors

In retrospect, Darin Mastroianni said Thursday, getting sent to the minors last month was the best thing that happened to him this spring. “If you’re not playing a lot, you can’t really simulate game conditions, and my ankle wasn’t getting better,” the Twins outfielder said after arriving from Class AAA Rochester, called up for injured Oswaldo Arcia. “Going to Rochester...

Twins bats, Nolasco hit stride in 7-1 win over Royals

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is about to return to a team that is playing markedly better than when he left it two days ago. Saturday, the offense showed it can take advantage of a struggling starter. And Ricky Nolasco allayed fears about a possible Vance Worley redux. And after being beat down by the Royals for most of 2013, the Twins whipped them 7-1 Saturday, giving them victories...

Vargas will try to help Royals slow down Twins, avoid sweep

While they've had strong performances in the early going despite injuries, the Minnesota Twins' bats have really come alive during a visit from the Kansas City Royals. In manager Ron Gardenhire's likely return to the dugout, the Twins will next try to power their way to their first series sweep over their AL Central rivals in nearly three years Sunday afternoon. Josh...

Nolasco contains Royals, posts strong start

Things hadn't gone Ricky Nolasco's way in his first two starts, but the Twins' big free-agent offseason signing handcuffed the Royals in pitching eight strong innings to give Minnesota starters solid back-to-back starts.

Money Matchup of the Day – Bruce Chen vs. Trevor Plouffe

No one matchup is the make or break in any baseball game but there are certain matchups in some games that could help decide the outcome in that game.  In this new daily piece at Pine Tar Press we will take a look at an intriguing competition between two players in that days game that we feel could help decide the outcome. Today's Matchup: Bruce Chen vs. Trevor Plouffe ...

Gardenhire to miss 2 games for funeral

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Manager Ron Gardenhire will miss Minnesota's games on Friday and Saturday against Kansas City to attend Saturday's funeral of Michael Hirschbeck in Ohio.

Mauer homers, Nolasco pitches Twins past Royals

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Joe Mauer hit his first home run of the season and free-agent acquisition Ricky Nolasco earned his first win for the Minnesota Twins in a 7-1 victory Saturday over the Kansas City Royals.

Royals pounded by Twins 10-1 as offense continues to struggle

So, this was the time that the Royals were supposed to take off, playing nine games against the lowly Minnesota Twins and even lowlier Houston Astros over the next 10 days. Oops. The Royals did not exactly get off to a flying start, getting drilled by the Twins and their youthful and shaky starter Kyle Gibson by a score of 10-1. 3 UP Learn from Omar Infante, guys. Omar Infante, back...

Colabello happy to continue playing in Minnesota

Chris Colabello decided to stay in Minnesota after drawing lucrative offers from Korean teams following his major league debut with the Twins last season.

Twins can't muster much 'O' against A's

The Twins' offensive woes against the Oakland A's continued in a 6-1 loss and series sweep Thursday.
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.