Twins Hang on to Beat Angels
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kyle Gibson is still below .500 as a starter this season, and Byron Buxton is still barely batting a hair above .200. The baby steps they’re making, though, are positive signs for a Minnesota Twins team that needs more consistency from its younger players to stay in the division race.
Gibson (5-6) turned in his longest outing of the season, and Buxton homered and matched his career high with three hits to lead the Twins to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
Considering one started the season 0-4 before being sent to the minors and the other spent most of April a sub-.100 hitter, it’s impressive Gibson and Buxton are playing roles on one of the A.L.’s most surprising teams this year.
“I don’t feel like my stuff is that much different,” Gibson said. “I think my mindset has allowed me to execute better. I’ve gotten in situations where in the first six starts, I ended up caving and not making it out of the third, fourth, fifth inning.”
Gibson threw 6 2-3 innings to snap his three-game winless streak. He allowed two runs off five hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts.
“I think that’s what we’re all looking for is if he keeps incrementally finding ways to trust himself and stay aggressive,” manager Paul Molitor said. “It seems when he does that, the results reflect it.”
Robbie Grossman had an RBI double off JC Ramirez (7-7) and eventually came around to score in a two-run fifth that put the Twins ahead for good. Ramirez — who allowed four runs off seven hits in five innings — also pitched tough but lost on the road for the first time since April 19 at Houston, ending his string of five straight road wins.
Ramirez and Gibson pitched evenly through the first four innings before Minnesota started the fifth with four straight hits. Buxton started things with a single and stole second before Grossman’s double down the first base line allowed the speedy outfielder to score easily.
Eddie Rosario chased Ramirez with a leadoff double in the sixth and scored on Ehire Adiranza’s second sac-fly RBI of the day, off Blake Parker. Buxton followed with his homer to make it 5-2.
“I think he just has to remember during the game all the work he puts into his practice,” Molitor said of Buxton, who left without speaking to reporters. “When you get in the game, you can’t be overthinking that thing. You just kind of have to let it fly.”
The Angels pulled to 5-4 in the ninth with one out when Ehire Adrianza’s throwing error from short allowed Ben Revere to reach and Andrelton Simmons to score. Martin Maldonado hit into a double play against Brandon Kintzler to end it.
Angels: Try to avoid the three-game sweep with right-hander Parker Bridwell (2-1) on the mound making his first career appearance against Minnesota. Bridwell is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two games on the road this season.
Twins: Ervin Santana (10-5) faces his old team as he looks to continue his strong season. Santana is 1-3 in four career starts against the Angels, and hasn’t beaten them since July 23, 2015.