Gibson, winless Twins still searching

Staff and wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS — Greenfield native Kyle Gibson was looking to turn the winless Minnesota Twins’ season around Monday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox.

Unbeaten in his career against the Windy City’s southsiders, Gibson has owned Chicago through the past three seasons with a perfect 4-0 record in six starts.

No. 7 wasn’t so lucky.

Instead, the Twins’ early-season slide continued in their sold-out home opener, as Chicago’s Jose Quintana tossed six strong innings and Austin Jackson had two RBIs to lift the White Sox to a 4-1 win that dropped Minnesota’s record to 0-7.

Quintana gave up one run on four hits and three walks to get his first victory of the year. He outpitched the right-handed Gibson, who went 52/3 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits and three walks.

Gibson’s season record fell to 0-2, but he was able to chip away at his ERA (4.22 from 7.20) after a rough season debut at Baltimore on April 6.

The White Sox took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second on an RBI single up the middle from Brett Lawrie with the infield in.

After being helped by a throwing error from Eduardo Escobar, Chicago loaded the bases in the fourth to set up a two-run single from Jackson with two outs.

Jackson came within about two inches of launching a grand slam against Gibson. The shot, against a 21-mph wind, curved around the foul pole at the last second, but Jackson connected on the next pitch to put Chicago up 3-0.

The Twins had trouble with runners on base yet again, and their lone run came on an RBI groundout from Eddie Rosario in the bottom of the fourth. But Trevor Plouffe was stranded at third, as Eduardo Escobar struck out looking to end the inning. The Twins went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

The White Sox loaded the bases in the fifth after Lawrie was hit on the right wrist with two outs. But Gibson stood his ground, coaxing Avisail Garcia to fly out to left field. Chicago left 12 runners on base.

Gibson allowed four earned runs in his first start of the season as Minnesota lost 4-2 to the Orioles.

Against Chicago in his career, he carried a 2.13 ERA with 33 strikeouts and just six walks into the game through 421/3 innings pitched.

No team has ever lost the first seven games of a season and made the playoffs, though three teams — the 1974 Pirates, 1995 Reds and 2011 Rays — started out 0-6 and made the postseason. However, they all won their seventh game of the season.

After being one of the biggest surprises in baseball last year, winning 83 games and narrowly missing out on their first postseason berth since 2010, expectations were higher for the Twins in 2016.

But this season has started with a thud. A 7-0 loss to the Royals on Saturday dropped the Twins to 0-5 for the first time since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961. They had previously started 0-4 in 1969, 1981 and 2012 but had never opened a season with five or more consecutive losses.

At a glance

Kyle Gibson didn’t get much help during the Minnesota Twins’ home opener on Monday against the Chicago White Sox. The Greenfield-Central graduate’s tough luck continued as he suffered his second loss of the year. Gibson’s pitching line against the White Sox as well as for the 2016 season:

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

Monday;5.2;6;3;1;3;3;0;1.59;0-1

2016 Season;10.2;13;7;5;8;6;1;4.22;0-2