By: Sam Ekstrom | KFAN.com
Kyle Gibson’s crusade to resurrect the Twins’ pitching staff took a hit Thursday against the Yankees.
After an impressive first start last Saturday where he was spotted a five-run lead, Gibson (1-1) found himself on the opposite end of an early 5-0 hole as he suffered his first career loss in a ????? Yankees victory.
New York also became the second-ever team to sweep the Twins in a four-game set at Target Field.
“They’re not intimidating,” said manager Ron Gardenhire about the Yankees. “They just outplayed us. They got some big hits when they needed to. We’re not worried about the Yankee part, it’s just you’ve got to go out there and play them.”
The Yankees provided their own fireworks on an Independence Day matinee. Robinson Cano continued his huge series by driving in the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first. Vernon Wells followed with a two-run single to give New York a 3-0 lead.
Gibson got through the second inning with no runs allowed, but ran into more trouble in the third. Wells drove in his third run with an RBI double, and shortstop Luis Cruz got his first hit as a Yankee, singling in Wells to give New York a 5-0 advantage.
“In the first and third inning, mainly, I left some balls up,” said Gibson. “A lot of these guys can hit those off-speed pitches and fastballs that are left up in the zone.”
“Especially in the first inning, some sliders left up that they hit pretty hard,” said Gardenhire. “They were hitting some rockets off him.”
Gibson’s day ended in the sixth after he allowed a walk, a double, and an RBI single to Alberto Gonzalez. The right-hander left with two men aboard, who both eventually scored on an Ichiro Suzuki triple to make the score 8-1. Gibson allowed 11 hits and was charged with all eight runs, the most allowed in his professional career.
Said Gibson after the game, “I went back and took a look at all of the hits that I gave up and only four of them were actually well-located.”
It looked like New York made a point of jumping on Gibson’s deliveries early in the count. Thirteen of 27 Yankees who faced Gibson swung at the first pitch.
“I’d like to think that in most situations when a team’s swinging early, then I’ve got the advantage,” said Gibson. “If they’re going to swing early and not see some pitches before they swing, I should be able to get them to swing at the pitch that I want them to swing at.”
“I was throwing strikes today. I just wasn’t throwing quality strikes.”
New York’s lopsided lead overshadowed an encouraging two-homer game by Justin Morneau. The designated hitter went deep in the fourth and eighth innings—both solo home runs. After being stuck on two longballs for two and a half months of the season, Morneau now has four home runs since June 19.
“He was on the ball pretty good today,” said Gardenhire. “He put some nice swings on there. A couple of mistakes by them, and he wacked them pretty good.”
Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier also knocked in runs with RBI singles in the seventh inning. Joe Mauer drove in another with a sac fly. Winning pitcher David Phelps (6-5) was charged with four runs and gave up eight hits in six and one-third innings.
Minnesota, losers of five straight games, will now embark on a rigorous 10-game roadtrip before the All-Star Break. The Twins will face three A.L. East opponents, beginning with Toronto on Friday evening. Kevin Correia (6-5) will take the mound against Mark Buehrle (4-5).
NOTES: The Twins are now the furthest below .500 they have been all season at 10 games under (36-46)… The multi-homer game by Morneau was the 19th of his career… Robinson Cano did not record a hit after having seven in the previous three games.