CLEVELAND — Kyle Gibson wants to be known for excelling in key moments, and he came through Wednesday in his most important start yet.
The Greenfield-native (11-11) threw six shutout innings and Torii Hunter had a three-run double as the Minnesota Twins gained ground in the AL wild-card race, winning their fourth straight with a 7-1 victory over the fading Cleveland Indians in the first game of a doubleheader.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to pitch in this game, but I’d love to have the reputation of having success in big games,” said Gibson, a Greenfield-Central graduate. “I don’t know that this really starts that reputation at all, because it’s still the regular season, but it’s fun to pitch in games that mean something.”
Joe Mauer and Byron Buxton hit solo homers for Minnesota, which entered play trailing the Angels by 1½ games for the AL’s second wild card.
The loss dealt another setback to Cleveland’s slim playoff hopes. The Indians enter the nightcap six wins behind the Angels with six games left.
Gibson wasn’t affected by having his start pushed back by Tuesday night’s rainout. The right-hander struck out nine, matching a career high, and held Cleveland to four hits.
Gibson was coming off a rocky outing against the Indians last week when he allowed six runs in a season-low 2 2/3 innings.
“When you get to this point in the season, anytime you can go out there and put up some zeros and the offense goes out there and does what they do, it’s a good day,” Gibson said.
Mauer homered to dead center in the first. Carrasco retired the next eight hitters before getting rocked in the fourth. After Mauer and Miguel Sano singled, Trevor Plouffe’s RBI single made it 2-0. Eddie Rosario walked, and Hunter’s double scored all three runners.
Jason Kipnis drove in Cleveland’s only run with a seventh-inning single.
Minnesota Twins’ Kyle Gibson dominated the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night, pitching six shutout innings. The Greenfield-Central graduate’s pitching line against the Indians as well as for the season: