Royals get early jump on Greenfield-Central graduate in defeat of Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — Had it not been for the rough beginning, Kyle Gibson would have added Wednesday night to a long list of strong starts this season.

In the first inning, the Minnesota Twins starter surrendered a three-run homer to the Kansas City Royals’ Alex Gordon.

After that, the Greenfield-Central graduate settled in, allowing just one more earned run the remainder of his outing.

However, those three runs proved fateful, as Gibson’s offense could muster only two of their own, and the Twins fell 7-2.

“Anytime you go out and give up four runs, it just puts more pressure on the offense,” said Gibson, who dipped to 4-4.

“So really it’s just a frustrating outing.”

Gibson finished the game with six strikeouts, while allowing five hits and two walks over six full innings.

Gibson had a 2.03 ERA in the five previous starts of his career against the Royals, and he was in command again.

Except for that first inning, with the big hit by Gordon.

“Left a changeup right over the middle. When you don’t execute against good teams, you’re going to pay for it,” Gibson said.

Gibson has now allowed nine earned runs over his past two games after giving up eight over the previous seven.

His season ERA jumped to 3.24, 17th in the American League.

For Gibson’s Twins, they were swept at home for the first time this season, and they lost their American League Central lead to the Kansas City Royals. Kansas City (24-23) now owns a two game advantage over the Twins (33-26).

“I told them in there, ‘You don’t determine the fate of your season in June. That just never happens, one way or another,’” Molitor said.

Royals starter Edinson Volquez (5-4) pitched the Royals to victory by reaching the seven-inning mark for only the second time in his past nine starts. He had six strikeouts.

The Twins’ Trevor Plouffe homered in the eighth and had an RBI single in the third, but there weren’t any other threats.

This series provided a poignant reminder that the Twins have not caught up to the reigning American League champion Royals, even if they spent the past week in first place from the thrust of their 20-7 mark in May.

The Twins had the best home record in the league, until the Royals arrived this week and dropped them to 20-12.

By the numbers

The Minnesota Twins’ Kyle Gibson pitched six innings on Wednesday, surrendering five runs, four earned, against the Kansas City Royals. The Greenfield-Central graduate’s pitching line against the Royals, as well as for the season: