FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Kyle Gibson struck seven in six strong innings for the Minnesota Twins in a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.

Gibson mixed in his slider and placed new emphasis on his changeup in striking out Rays slugger Evan Longoria three times and leadoff man John Jaso twice.

The right-hander had just 107 strikeouts in 179 1-3 innings last season, his first full year in the majors. He has 17 Ks in 19 2-3 innings this spring.

Rene Rivera, the second batter of the game, homered, but the only other hit off Gibson was a two-out single by Desmond Jennings in the fourth. Gibson retired seven of his final eight batters, issuing a full-count walk to No. 9 hitter Tim Beckham in that span.

Twins switch-hitter Kennys Vargas hit a long home run in the sixth inning, batting from the right side, that nearly cleared the boardwalk beyond the left field berm. It was Vargas' team-high fourth homer of the spring.