Gibson fans 8 as Twins shut out Pirates

Gibson fans 8 as Twins shut out Pirates

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Kyle Gibson threw six scoreless innings and Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run single to help lead the Twins to a 3-0 win over the split-squad Pirates on Saturday at CenturyLink Sports Complex.

Gibson was sharp, striking out eight and scattering three hits in his second-to-last start of the spring to lower his ERA to 1.53. Gibson, who is lined up to be the club's No. 2 starter, is slated to start in the club's Grapefruit League finale against the Red Sox on Thursday.

Gibson replicates Santana's stellar game line

Left-hander Kyle Lobstein, who is competing for a spot in Pittsburgh's bullpen, made the start for the Pirates, allowing two runs on three hits over four innings. He also socked a one-out double to the left-center-field gap in the top of the third.

Lobstein strikes out Park

The two runs against Lobstein came in the fourth when Plouffe knocked in Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano, who had singled and doubled off the wall, respectively. Plouffe has been swinging a hot bat lately, as he also had two homers against the Rays on Friday and now leads the team with 14 RBIs this spring.

Plouffe embracing cleanup role

The Twins added an insurance run against reliever Rob Scahill in the seventh, when Eddie Rosario hit a one-out triple and scored on a double from Eduardo Escobar.

Plouffe's two-run single

Pirates lefty reliever Cory Luebke, who has an out-clause in his contract, pitched well, tossing a scoreless fifth inning. He allowed a leadoff single to Rosario but was able to get Escobar to ground into a double play.

Twins closer Glen Perkins also saw action, throwing a scoreless seventh after Gibson departed. Perkins struck out one and was helped by a double-play grounder.

Pirates third baseman Cole Figueroa, who is competing for a spot on the bench, went 2-for-3 at the plate, but right fielder Matt Joyce and second baseman Pedro Florimon, who are also competing for bench roles, each went 0-for-3.

Up next for the Pirates: Pittsburgh will return to McKechnie Field on Sunday for another 6:05 p.m. ET game against the Orioles. With rotation candidate Juan Nicasio scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game, the Pirates will start prospect Trevor Williams in front of most of their Opening Day lineup. Williams was sent to Minor League camp with the Bucs' first round of Spring Training roster cuts. Baltimore will counter with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. The game will air on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio.

Up next for the Twins: Right-hander Phil Hughes faces his former team on Sunday when he starts against the Yankees in Tampa at 12:05 p.m. CT. It's the last Grapefruit League start for Hughes, who is also scheduled to pitch in the club's exhibition game against the Nationals in Washington D.C. on Friday. Other pitchers scheduled to see action are Ryan Pressly and Fernando Abad. The game will air on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.