Righty snaps three-start losing streak with impressive 6 2/3 innings
By Brandon Curry
MILWAUKEE -- When Twins starter Kyle Gibson is on his game, he's inducing ground ball after ground ball. It was a trait he had partially lost during his three-start losing streak before Saturday's 5-2 win over the Brewers at Miller Park.
Gibson racked up 12 ground balls that led to 13 outs, including an important double play in the fourth inning, that capped off a 6 2/3-innings victory for the right-hander.
"That's his game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We talked before the game about being more aggressive. He gets a lot of balls on the ground with his downward movement, especially with his sinker."
Gibson had talked to both Molitor and battery mate Chris Herrmann before Saturday's game about readjusting his pitch location against hitters early in the count. Molitor told him that he needed to attack the strike zone more often.
Gibson executed that advice against the Brewers. He had a seven-batter sequence early in the game where he threw first-pitch strikes to each and struck out the side in the second inning -- his only three strikeouts of the game.
"Flashes of strikeouts in the second inning isn't really who I am," Gibson said. "Getting those ground balls, that's me. Just attacking the zone and not being so fine was pretty important."
With all those ground balls came a defense behind Gibson that played its part, helping the 27-year-old escape a jam in the sixth.
With one out in the inning and runners on first and second, Twins center fielder Eddie Rosario was able to catch a blistering line drive off the bat of Carlos Gomez in left-center-field. In the very next at-bat, second baseman Brian Dozier picked a sharp one-hopper in short right field from Adam Lind to end the frame.
"The defense played great today," Gibson said. "The outfield was in the right spot there in the sixth inning to help me wiggle out of a jam. The infield turned a double play, and Dozier made a great play in the hole."
The Twins hope Saturday's performance will get Gibson back on the right track after he lost three straight outings.
"He's got to trust his stuff, it's really good," Molitor said. "People don't square him up a ton."
Brandon Curry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.