Bats deliver, Gibson goes distance vs. Braves

Bats deliver, Gibson goes distance vs. Braves

ATLANTA -- Though there would certainly be a benefit to gaining the first overall pick in next year's MLB Draft, the Twins weren't complaining as they took advantage of Mike Foltynewicz's early exit and frustrated the Braves' bullpen on the way to completing a two-game series victory with a 10-3 win on Wednesday night at Turner Field.

"We used a lot [of relievers] yesterday trying to stay in the game, and [Foltynewicz], just every inning was a stressful inning for him tonight," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He worked harder than he did the other night in Washington, probably, in the heat there. But just very inning, there was trouble. He kept us in the ballgame, but after five, if he had about 65 pitches instead of 100 where he could maybe extend the ballgame a little bit -- just kind of got stretched thin there."

Eddie Rosario and Juan Centeno recorded consecutive doubles off Eric O'Flaherty to begin the decisive sixth inning and then contributed to the three-run seventh inning that provided sufficient cushion for Kyle Gibson, who notched his second career complete game and soured the much-anticipated big league debut of Dansby Swanson, who recorded two of the eight hits surrendered by the Twins' right-hander.

Centeno's RBI double

"It's a pretty good milestone," Gibson said. "It's the first nine-inning one I've done and it was a win, which was good. For me, I'm just trying to develop into the guy I want to be, and that means pitching deep into games when your team gets a lead."

With the series victory, the Twins moved five games in front of the Braves, who have lost six of their past seven games and have MLB's worst record. Minnesota, which lost a two-game series at home vs. Atlanta in late July, has won 16 of its past 24 road games dating back to June 26.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rosario sparks rallies: Rosario led off the sixth with a double before coming around to score on a double from Centeno to give the Twins a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Rosario helped the Twins add to that lead in the seventh, when he singled with the bases loaded and nobody out to bring home another run. It fueled a three-run inning from the Twins with Centeno plating a run on an RBI groundout and Robbie Grossman delivering a bloop RBI single to right.

Rosario's RBI single

"He's still learning to trust himself," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Rosario. "He's a hit-first-mentality guy. I think he understands it's an area he needs to get better at to be a more consistent player."

Early exit: Foltynewicz held the Twins scoreless after enduring a two-run first inning that was sparked by Brian Dozier's leadoff double. But his inconsistent command pushed his pitch count to 100 through five innings and led to the early entry of O'Flaherty, who surrendered the consecutive doubles to begin the sixth and then exited after putting two on with none out the following inning. Ian Krol surrendered a couple soft singles and allowed a pair of inherited runners to score during Minnesota's three-run seventh.

Foltynewicz gets out of trouble

"I think there was one clean inning, but you just take out of it that I got out of some pretty big jams," Foltynewicz said. "The score could have been out of control there early. I'm just really proud of myself for bearing down and getting the guys out, especially with second and third with no outs [in the third inning]."

Gibson settles in: Gibson has struggled to get deep into games recently, as he hadn't gone more than five innings in each of his past three outings. But he turned it around with a strong performance. He struggled with his command early with a walk in each of the first two innings and a wild pitch, and he gave up a two-run homer to Freddie Freeman in the third, but he got into a groove from there. It marked the second time in 17 starts this season that Gibson went at least eight frames, and the first time in his career he ever went nine.

Gibson's complete-game victory

"I really wanted to give him the chance to finish," Molitor said. "Not knowing it was his first [nine-inning] complete game, I thought he had enough to finish, and he did a nice job striking out the side there in the ninth." More >

Quiet bats: Ender Inciarte recorded a pair of hits and Swanson energized the home crowd when he recorded his first two career hits -- singles in the fourth and ninth innings. But the Braves notched just three hits over the final five innings, including Nick Markakis' ninth-inning solo shot. Freeman set his new career-high homer total (24) with his opposite-field shot in the third inning. The Braves' first baseman has homered five times in his past 19 at-bats.

Markakis' solo homer

"[Swanson] could have been 3-for-4," Snitker said. "It was real good. He kind of looked like he was just playing a normal baseball game. I wish he would have had a couple of plays, but he swung the bat nice."

QUOTABLE
"It was a good night for me, but I guess it was just good to get my feet wet and move forward and take every day for what it's worth." -- Swanson

Must C: Swanson's first hit

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Gibson came to the plate five times, marking the first time a Twins pitcher had at least five plate appearances since Johan Santana did it against the Mets on June 19, 2007. Gibson went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and walked in the ninth.

REPLAY REVIEW
The Braves issued a successful challenge after Matt Kemp was called out at second base in the third inning. After a replay review resulted in Kemp being awarded a double, Markakis lined out to center to end the inning.

Braves challenge call at second

WHAT'S NEXT
Twins: The Twins head to Kansas City for a four-game series that begins Thursday at 7:15 p.m. CT. Right-hander Tyler Duffey (8-8, 5.71 ERA) is set to start for the Twins and will be facing the Royals for a second straight outing. He limited them to two runs over seven innings to get the win last time out.

Braves: Atlanta will welcome Washington to Turner Field on Thursday night to begin a four-game series. Rob Whalen will attempt to bounce back from Saturday's rough outing against the Nationals. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. 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.