Staff and wire reports
BALTIMORE — The next day’s headlines focused on 21-year-old rookie Byron Buxton after the Minnesota Twins’ top prospect picked up his first major league RBI to help his team win 3-2 against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.
Through five innings, however, Greenfield-Central graduate Kyle Gibson kept the AL Wild Card contenders in line for the win. At least, that was before inconsistencies once again surfaced.
Gibson entered his 25th start of the season winless in his past six turns in the Twins rotation, and early on versus Baltimore it appeared the trend would end.
The right-hander looked much better than his previous start when he surrendered six earned runs in five innings to the New York Yankees on Aug. 17.
His fastball was working and he induced well-timed grounders despite falling behind in the second inning when Henry Urrutia’s RBI double put the Orioles ahead 1-0.
Gibson struck out a pair but found himself in trouble in the sixth with a leadoff walk to Chris Davis and the game tied 1-1.
Unable to get the third out, Davis eventually scored on a J.J. Hardy sacrifice fly and Gibson’s night was over after 5⅔ innings with six hits allowed, four walks issued and the bases loaded.
“Gibson is kind of in the pattern what we’ve seen as of late,” Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor told MLB.com reporters after the game. “The command is not great, but he’s found ways to keep you in the game, which is a good thing.”
Gibson got some relief from Casey Fien, who recorded the final out of the inning and later the win. The reliever forced a swinging strikeout by Manny Machado to get the starter off the hook for more potential damage.
Since his last win on July 12 against Detroit, Gibson has recorded two quality starts and has given up five earned runs or more in four outings. On three occasions he’s pitched well enough to win (two earned runs in five-plus innings).
The sixth inning kept him from win No. 9, but Buxton made sure the Twins would prevail.
Buxton hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, and the Twins extended their dominance of the Baltimore Orioles winning the first of three before sweeping the series on Sunday.
After overcoming a two-run deficit in the eighth inning on Friday night, Minnesota handed Chris Tillman (9-8) his first loss since May 31 despite trailing 1-0 in the sixth and 2-1 in the seventh.
Recalled from the minors earlier in the week to replace injured outfielder Aaron Hicks, Buxton was instrumental in Minnesota’s second straight comeback win over the Orioles on Saturday.
After Baltimore went ahead 2-1 in the sixth, Minnesota took the lead for the first time in the seventh.
Buxton, the second overall pick in the 2012 draft, came into Saturday hitting .208 (10-for-48) over 13 games in his first major league season.
In this game, the rookie laid down a sacrifice bunt in the sixth to help the Twins draw even, then delivered the decisive hit in the seventh.
After spending much of the season with Triple-A Rochester, Buxton was delighted to contribute to the big league club.
‘’When all the hard work you put in in the cage results in a base hit to win the game, that’s all you can ask for,’’ he said. ‘’I received a lot of support to put me in such a position.’’
The Twins have won eight straight over Baltimore dating to last September.
Minnesota Twins’ Kyle Gibson had a solid outing against the Baltimore Orioles, surrendering two runs in 5.2 innings Saturday in a no-decision. The Greenfield-Central graduate’s pitching line against the Orioles as well as for the season: