MINNEAPOLIS - In his major league debut, Minnesota Twins top pitching prospect Kyle Gibson threw six strong innings against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field on Saturday. With a big early lead, Gibson cruised to his first win, beating the Royals 6-2.
The Twins turned the tables on Kansas City from Friday and opened a six-run lead after two innings that the Royals could not overcome. The Twins scored five first-inning runs against Royals starter Wade Davis, bouncing him in the second inning, and pretty much coasted the rest of the game.
"(The runs were a) big help," Gibson said. "I can't say enough about my teammates, definitely going out there and getting a big lead early. Took a lot of pressure off, was able to make a few pitches with a little less 'fineness' to them. The two runs I gave up -- not that they were meaningless runs -- but the five-run lead definitely allowed them not to be as big of runs."
Gibson threw 91 pitches in six innings, giving up two runs on eight hits, with no walks and five strikeouts.
"I'm soaking this one in right now," Gibson said. "I am sure in the next couple of days I will get the report about the Yankees and start thinking about it. But I am just going to soak this one up with my family and have a good night with them."
Gibson remained in control for most of his performance. He hit Alcides Escobar in the hand but got the next batter, Eric Hosmer, to ground to him for an inning-ending double play.
Davis got himself in trouble with early walks and the Twins made it hurt. They had nine hits in the game. Davis threw 69 pitches in one inning (plus three batters), giving up six earned runs on five hits and five walks. He struck out two.
"He fought his command," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It was one of those days where he fought his command. His stuff was OK, but he just couldn't locate: behind in the count, up in the zone."
The Royals threatened in the eighth inning, loading the bases with one out. But Twins reliever Casey Fien struck out Lorenzo Cain and Miguel Tejada to end the inning. Glen Perkins closed out the ninth, and the Twins took a 2-1 series lead.
In the bottom of the first, Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer drew walks and both scored on Justin Morneau's double to deep center. It was Morneau's fourth double in nine at-bats in the series.
Trevor Plouffe then hit his sixth home run of the season to give the Twins a quick 4-0 lead.
"We need him to produce," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Plouffe, who recently returned from the DL. "(Having him back) makes a big difference in our lineup. You can move him up and down a little bit. He makes a big difference: We have some right-handed pop in there to go along with (Josh) Willingham."
Davis, who threw 53 pitches in the first inning, gave up another walk to Chris Parmelee, who scored after back-to-back singles by Jamey Carroll and Pedro Florimon.
Things didn't go much better for Davis in the second; he gave up a hit and two walks to load the bases. Yost brought in Will Smith, who gave up a run on a sacrifice fly to Plouffe.
"I have never seen a 50-pitch inning," Yost said. "But then again, we don't really have a long (relief) guy, and I was trying to see if I can get him through three, but that didn't happen. And then Will Smith came in and did a phenomenal job. And Hochs (Luke Hochevar), too. To get through that game with only two relievers was a tremendous job."
The Royals scratched out a run in the third when Jarrod Dyson beat out an infield hit, stole his 10th base of the season and scored on Escobar's single up the middle.
Salvador Perez hit a shot to shortstop that Florimon couldn't come up with and Escobar scored to make it 6-2.
NOTES: The Twins have been outscored 74-44 in the first inning this season, in 77 games. The 74 runs allowed in the first are the most in baseball. ... On Friday, Eric Hosmer hit two home runs at Target Field, a notoriously home run-stingy park. It was the first multi-home run game by the Royals since Sept. 7, 2012. ... Coming into the series, Mauer was hitting .346 lifetime against the Royals, but he has gone 0-for-10 in the first three games.