MINNEAPOLIS — Victory eluded Minnesota Twins’ starter Kyle Gibson at Target Field on Wednesday, but it found Max Kepler.
Kepler was in danger of being the goat after his two-run fielding error keyed a three-run rally that gave the Philadelphia Phillies a lead in the fifth.
But he was instead the hero of a 6-5 Twins win after driving in the tying run, the go-ahead run and making a highlight-reel diving catch in the eighth to help preserve the late lead.
Trevor Plouffe led the way with three hits for the Twins, who did the brunt of their damage against Phillies starter Adam Morgan in the fifth on a two-run triple by Eduardo Escobar and Kepler’s game-tying single.
Escobar and Robbie Grossman each had two hits and a run scored, as every Minnesota starter hit safely in a 13-hit outburst.
“We came back tonight, and I thought we swung the bats well,” Twins manager Paul Molitor told MLB.com reporters. “We didn’t capitalize too much. We left some people out there, but we got some hits with runners in scoring position.
“It was one of those games where we had to fight. They put together a big inning. … But overall, we’ll take the win. We had to grind to get it, but we found a way to get it done.”
After hitting four home runs in Tuesday’s series opener, the Phillies continued to do damage with the long ball, tagging Gibson for two homers in his six innings of work.
Cameron Rupp went yard for the second straight game with an opposite-field solo shot in the second, and Andres Blanco homered in the third as part of a three-hit evening.
Gibson also gave up a home run against Boston on June 11 in his first start since coming off the disabled list. However, he bounced back versus the New York Yankees behind a quality start on June 16.
The right-hander went 6 1/3 innings and surrendered three runs for the tough loss in the Twins game with the Yankees, 4-1.
On Wednesday, Gibson walked a pair and allowed eight hits with five strikeouts before leaving with the game tied 5-5.
He is 0-5 on the season with a 6.05 ERA after breaking out last year. In his third big-league season, Gibson was 11-11 and posted a career-best 3.84 ERA.
His fourth year has been a struggle. In seven starts this season, he has allowed three or fewer runs just three times and four or more four times. Gibson has given up five home runs and 17 walks compared to 22 strikeouts.
The Phillies have lost nine consecutive games, matching their longest losing streak since 1999, when they had an 11-game losing streak in September.
The Phillies also have lost 26 of their past 32 games. It is their worst 32-game stretch since a 6-26 run in ‘99.
“We’re going to come back from the dead, but now we’re at the bottom,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin told MLB.com reporters about the team’s losing streak. “We’re going to climb out, that I’m pretty sure of. But right now is the time I’ve got to figure out a way to keep them motivated without being too harsh.”
Kyle Gibson had a rough night at Target Field on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, but the Twins rallied to win. The Greenfield-Central graduate last 6.0 innings and struck out five. Gibson’s pitching line against the Phillies as well as for the 2016 season: