The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

June 29, 2013

Gibson pitches well enough to win MLB debut

(Continued)

"Never," Davis said when asked if he'd ever had a similar outing. "Not that short, anyways. Just frustrating to look back and look how that played out."

On Friday night, the Royals hit a season-high four homers against the Twins. They couldn't muster much of anything against Gibson through six innings, or against relievers Brian Duensing, Casey Fien or Glen Perkins.

Kansas City loaded the bases with one out against Fien in the eighth, but Lorenzo Cain and Miguel Tejada both struck out swinging.

"We got kind of put in a hole early there," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "We were trying to inch back, and inch back. Just fell short."

Gibson's long-awaited arrival to the Twins' rotation came this week after starter Mike Pelfrey was placed on the disabled list because of a strained back. He received the loudest cheers during pregame introductions, and he delighted the crowd by striking out slugger Billy Butler to end the first inning.

"I think everybody in this room knows that feeling the first day that they step out there, nerves are going, but he handled it about as good as you could," catcher Joe Mauer said.

Minnesota had been outscored 74-39 in the first inning this season, but the Twins pounced right away on Davis, who gave up a two-run double to Justin Morneau and a two-run homer to Plouffe.

Florimon's RBI-single made it 5-0, and Gibson calmly handled the Royals lineup the rest of the way with pitches that consistently reached into the 90-mph range.

"You hear a lot about him, and he's got great makeup and great pitches, and he's going to be good one," Mauer said.

NOTES: The Royals designated OF Jeff Francoeur for assignment after the game to make room for 2B Johnny Giavotella, who was called up from Triple-A Omaha. . Davis had been 3-0 in eight career appearances against the Twins. ... It took Davis 53 pitches to get through the first inning. It was the most first-inning pitches by a major-league starting pitcher since Wandy Rodrigues threw 55 on Aug. 1, 2007, at Atlanta for Houston. Davis threw 69 before being relieved by Will Smith in the second. "He fought his command. His stuff was OK, but he just didn't locate. I've never seen a 50-pitch inning," Royals manager Ned Yost said. . Plouffe stretched his hitting streak to 11 games, the second longest of his career. His highest is a 17-games spurt from June 30-July 19, 2012. ... Gibson is the eighth rookie used by the Twins this season. ... The Twins will go for the series win on Sunday when they send right-hander Kevin Correia (6-5) to the mound. The Royals counter with Ervin Santana (5-5).

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