MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson entered spring training just hoping to make the big-league roster. He headed north as the team’s No. 5 starter, but since the start of the season he has pitched like the team’s ace.
Gibson was masterful again Thursday in the first game of a day/night doubleheader against Toronto, pitching eight shutout innings as the Twins defeated the Blue Jays 7-0 Thursday at Target Field.
Gibson kept the game scoreless through five innings, long enough for the Minnesota bats to come alive against Blue Jays right-hander RA Dickey.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Twins strung together three consecutive one-out singles, the last from third baseman Trevor Plouffe, that drove in the first run of the game. A walk loaded the bases for left fielder Jason Kubel, who ripped a sharp single to right to make it 2-0 before designated hitter Josmil Pinto’s RBI double high off the wall in left-center drove in two more. A sacrifice fly by catcher Kurt Suzuki made it 5-0.
The five-run inning supplied all the offense the Twins needed.
Gibson allowed only one hit – an eighth-inning single that was erased by a double play – in his final three innings. In eight innings, he gave up four hits and a walk while striking out four for to improve his record to 3-0 and lower his ERA to 0.93.
Plouffe added a sacrifice fly and Colabello had an RBI double in the sixth to provide extra cushion for the Twins, who attempted to climb above .500 mark for the first time this season with a win in the nightcap
Dickey took the loss for the Blue Jays, dropping to 1-3. He threw 112 pitches – only 67 of them for strikes – in 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and five runs, all earned, with four strikeouts.
NOTES: The game-time temperature of 31 degrees was coldest in Twins history, breaking the previous low of 32 degrees set May 2, 1967, at Metropolitan Stadium. The previous low at Target Field was 34 degrees last April 12. … The paid attendance of 20,507 was the lowest in Target Field history (opened April 12, 2010). … Blue Jays OF Melky Cabrera went 0-for-4, snapping a 14-game hitting streak. He had hit safely in every game this season. … The shutout was Minnesota’s first of the season. It was also the first time that Toronto was shut out by an opponent this season.
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