ST. LOUIS — The pressure was on.
Not only was Minnesota Twins starter Kyle Gibson pitching Tuesday against the best team in the league in the St. Louis Cardinals, but the former Greenfield-Central star was doing it in front of dozens of family members and friends.
A University of Missouri graduate, Gibson left about 75 tickets for family and friends and noted “a lot of my wife’s relatives probably have never seen me pitch, other than on TV.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Gibson showed them why he was a highly touted first-round draft pick, as he delivered six solid innings.
Unfortunately for Gibson, his Twins fell just short of success for a second straight game.
Despite Gibson’s quality outing, the Twins lost to the Cardinals 3-2 for the second consecutive night.
Gibson (4-5) allowed three runs in six innings and bemoaned only one pitch, a sinker that stayed up and got too much of the plate on Mark Reynolds’ two-run single in the third inning. That hit put St. Louis ahead 3-0.
“I’ve just been doing that too much recently,” Gibson said. “When you get yourself in that position, righty on righty, no need to give the guy something to hit.”
Hours after a federal investigation into possible computer hacking by the Cardinals became public, St. Louis extended its winning streak to five behind Michael Wacha’s pitching and Reynolds’ hit.
“That doesn’t really concern us on the field too much,” Gibson said. “They’ll have to handle it however they want to handle it.
“For us, it’s us against them.”
The loss dropped Minnesota’s record to 1-4 on its current road trip, and Gibson’s ERA inched up to 3.33, 18th in the American League.
“We had a bad trip, but it’s not like we’re getting too down,” leadoff man Brian Dozier said after Tuesday’s rain-delayed setback. “We’ve put ourselves in a really good spot, so when we go through slumps like this it doesn’t affect us as much as it has been.”
The Twins totaled 12 hits the first two games of the home-and-home series that shifts to Minnesota Wednesday and Thursday.
“St. Louis, we know, has a knack for finding a way to win those kinds of games,” manager Paul Molitor said. “It’s a tough loss because we had our chances.”
The Twins (34-30) have now lost seven of eight, and as of Tuesday night, they are three games back of the American League Central-leading Kansas City Royals (35-25).
Gibson’s next scheduled start is Sunday afternoon at home against the Chicago Cubs. Gibson has never faced the Cubs in his career. They will be the 21st team he pitched against in his big-league career.
The Minnesota Twins’ Kyle Gibson pitched six innings on Tuesday, surrendering three runs against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Greenfield-Central graduate’s pitching line against the Cardinals as well as for the season: