BALTIMORE — After an impressive few weeks this spring training, the Minnesota Twins’ Kyle Gibson had high hopes for his first start of the Major League Baseball regular season.
The Baltimore Orioles (2-0), however, had other plans.
Using a combination of power and bottom-of-the-lineup production to back Yovani Gallardo’s Baltimore debut, the Orioles jumped all over Gibson early in Wednesday night’s 4-2 win against the Twins (0-2) at Camden Yards.
Gibson, a Greenfield-Central graduate, allowed seven hits and four earned runs through five innings, suffering the loss.
He struck out three but also walked five as his ERA ballooned to 7.20.
This spring, the right-hander went 3-1 with 21 hits permitted in 22⅔ innings pitched. He had 22 strikeouts and seven walks for a 2.78 ERA.
“It’s a little frustrating. You never want to start the season like that in your first outing,” Gibson said after the game. “Part of the frustration is that I left Fort Myers with all my pitches feeling good, but tonight my curveball was just alright and my slider wasn’t very good at all. So it was a battle for five innings, having only two pitches.”
The MLB leader in home runs last year, Chris Davis gave a power-heavy Baltimore lineup its first homer of 2016 with a blast to deep center field in the bottom of the third.
Davis, who picked up his first RBI in the process, went 2 for 4 on the night and showed no signs of letting up after signing a record-breaking seven-year deal this winter.
“I notice very early on, I think Chris seems to be in a rhythm about a lot of things in his life. You always wonder how things like that are going to affect people, but early on in the spring, you could tell he was the right kind of comfortable,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He just seems to be in a good rhythm about his life. I’m real proud of him.”
Red-hot Rule 5 Draft pick Joey Rickard picked up his first career RBI on a sacrifice fly, while Jonathan Schoop and Matt Wieters each doubled in a run for the Orioles off Gibson, taking the first two in the three-game series.
Minnesota’s Joe Mauer drove in a run on a third-inning sacrifice fly, the only run allowed by Gallardo, while Trevor Plouffe hit a solo homer off O’s reliever Mychal Givens.
Last year, Gibson was 11-11 with a 3.84 ERA, pitching 194⅔ innings through 32 starts. He posted his lowest batting average against in his four-year MLB career at .252 while striking out 145 compared to 65 walks.
Minnesota Twins’ Kyle Gibson struggled with his command through five innings in a loss against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. The Greenfield-Central graduate’s pitching line against the Orioles as well as for the 2015 season: