The waiting game

MINNEAPOLIS — In search of his first win in nearly a month, Minnesota Twins starter Kyle Gibson, much like the visiting Chicago Cubs on Sunday afternoon, will need to play the waiting game.

Lasting only five innings at Target Field, the Greenfield-Central graduate faced a persistent Cubs lineup, which worked him for 102 pitches and two earned runs before blanking the Twins 8-0.

Gibson’s season record dropped to 4-6 after his first appearance against Chicago as Minnesota was shut out for the third time this month and lost for the 10th time in 15 games.

Initially, the day appeared promising for the University of Missouri graduate, who struck out two of the first four batters he faced. This season, the right-hander has been effective at home, posting a 2.92 ERA and .265 batting average against.

However, Gibson (4-6) labored the rest of the way and the Twins turned to the bullpen early, resulting in a decisive six-run outburst in the eighth inning.

Gibson surrendered six hits and struck out six against three walks in his shortest outing since he lasted five frames on May 17 against Tampa Bay.

His most recent win was at U.S. Cellular Field on May 24 against the Chicago White Sox.

“A lot of times, I was standing out there thinking: ‘How did they not swing at that?’” Gibson said.

“They were patient and made me work hard. I don’t know if I’ve had many games in my career where I threw 20 pitches an inning.”

Anthony Rizzo scored both runs for the Cubs in the early going. He led off the third with a walk and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Starlin Castro. Rizzo blasted a solo home run in the fifth inning.

Gibson showed his grit in a 27-pitch second inning, facing a bases-loaded situation with just one out.

Able to escape the threat unscathed, Gibson induced an Addison Russell pop out and a Dexter Fowler ground out to get out of the jam.

“They did a good job battling and took a lot of pitches,” Gibson said.

Joe Mauer got a sellout crowd and the Twins going with an opposite-field double in the first inning.

Then Jake Arrieta heated up.

The Cubs starter was dominant, tossing a four-hit complete-game shutout to improve his record to 7-5. He set down 21 of the next 23 batters after the Twins’ only extra-base hit of the day from Mauer.

Arrieta picked up his third win over his last four starts, retiring 12 straight and striking out seven without issuing a walk. It was his first shut out since Sept. 16 against Cincinnati.

“Whether (Arrieta) wasn’t locked in right away or not, we put some good swings on him early,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He found different ways to get ahead from that point forward and I think we backed off the pedal in terms of getting after him. We started to swing from behind the rest of the way.”

Fowler hit a grand slam in the eighth inning, and former Indiana University standout Kyle Schwarber knocked in a pair with a single to left field to all but secure the rubber match for Chicago.

Following a 12-hit outburst in Friday’s win, the Twins managed just one run in the next 19 innings to drop the Cubs’ first series at Target Field since 2012.

By the numbers

The Minnesota Twins’ Kyle Gibson pitched five innings on Sunday, surrendering two runs against the Chicago Cubs. The Greenfield-Central graduate’s pitching line against the Cubs as well as for the season:

GM/YR;IP;H;R;ER;BB;SO;HR;ERA;W-L

Sunday;5.0;6;2;2;0;6;1;3.60;0-1

Season;86.0;82;35;32;28;55;10;3.35;4-6

Author photo
Rich Torres is sports editor at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at rtorres@greenfieldreporter.com or 317-477-3227.