Powered by two homers from Brian Dozier and eight solid innings from right-hander Kyle Gibson, the Twins earned a series win against the White Sox with an 8-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field. The Twins went 4-1 on their road trip through Pittsburgh and Chicago en route to an American League-best record of 15-6 in May.
It's the most wins in a month for the Twins since they won 16 in July 2011, and they're seven games above .500 for the first time this season at 25-18, which has them just ahead of the Tigers on percentage points for second in the AL Central.
"We have a lot of confidence in here," Gibson said. "We've been saying it the whole time, even after the 1-6 start. We like our team and the leaders we have."
Gibson continued his impressive May, as he improved to 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA in five starts. The lone run he gave up came on a solo blast to Jose Abreu in the fourth, but he matched a career high with eight strikeouts and didn't issue a walk. He has a 1.88 ERA over his last seven outings, and said it's the most consistent he's felt in the Majors.
"I think so," Gibson said. "But it's still something I'm focusing on and working on, for sure. I just I want the team to have a chance every time I'm on the mound."
Gibson was backed by Dozier, who connected on a leadoff homer off Jose Quintana that set the tone for a shaky performance from the lefty, who gave up seven runs (six earned) over six-plus innings. After the Twins scored four runs in the fourth, Dozier later connected on a three-run blast off reliever Scott Carroll in the seventh to put the game away.
"He kinda started it and then finished it off today," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He got the first one and then the last three. And in between we had a really nice inning."
The Twins have won six of their last seven series, and recorded their first winning road trip of the season.
"It was two really good teams in Pittsburgh and Chicago, and we played them really well," Dozier said. "Taking four out of five, we'll take that every time. And now we'll head home and see how that goes."
The Twins play 12 of their next 16 games at Target Field, where they have a 14-6 record, but Molitor said he doesn't want his team to get complacent with its surprising start to the season.
"It's like the theme we've been carrying for a while: that we're playing well and we're getting wins, but there's tomorrow," Molitor said. "We have the Red Sox for seven of the next 10 and Toronto in between, so you just have to be relentless."