Sano Need-to-Know: Lined out hard in his first at-bat, struck out twice, picked up an infield single in the ninth and was replaced by Shane Robinson as a pinch runner.
As the Twins and Royals continue to surprise most of the baseball world by actually being not bad, both clubs have attained their success in different ways. Kansas City has a pretty good collection of hitters, a brilliant bullpen, and a better defense; Minnesota has capitalized on opportunities and had some impressive starting pitching. It was those two things that helped our Twins to a win on Thursday night.
Kyle Gibson has had his ups and downs this year but he was at his best on a warm night in Kauffman Stadium, striking out seven over eight shutout innings. He scattered four hits, two of which were bunt singles. One of those bunt hits came in the fourth, following one of only two legit Royals hits, and it was the only situation that pressured Gibson all night. Alex Gordon would work a five-pitch walk to load the bases, but Gibson caught Salvador Perez looking on an inside slider to end the threat.
That might have been a play Royals fans didn't like. Perez certainly didn't like it, probably because Gibson missed his spot by a wide margin forcing Kurt Suzuki's glove to dart inside, but it was too close to take by any measure. Sometimes those breaking balls can come on you quick, especially when it gets away from the pitcher a little bit, but this one was close enough to give Gibson a big backwards K.
With two on and two out in the bottom of the eighth, Gibson struck out Lorenzo Cain on a foul tip (the only strikeout that didn't come on a changeup or slider from Kyle) and then forced Eric Hosmer into a ground out. While he walked four batters it hardly seemed to matter, and with just two non-bunt hits it was difficult for Kansas City to get any kind of a sustained rally.
Chris Young, for his part, was tough for the Twins to solve. Dick and Bert spoke about how Young's delivery hides the ball a bit, and you could see that Minnesota batters struggled to get a good read for most of the evening. Kurt Suzuki doubled to left to lead off the fifth and came home on Danny Santana's fourth triple of the year. Miguel Sano's first career hit came on an infield dribbler in the top of the ninth. Shane Robinson replaced him on the bases and would score on Eduardo Escobar's third triple of the year.
The big insurance run was great but was more than Gibson or Glen Perkins needed as the Royals went quietly in the bottom of the ninth. It's a big win after Kansas City swept the Twins in Minneapolis last month. Minnesota improves to 42-37, which brings them within three-and-a-half games of the Royals for first place.
Let's hope for another win tonight. I'll be waiting for Sano's first homer this weekened.
|4||less cowbell, more 'neau||21|
|15||West Coast Golden Gopher!||1|
|16||Luke in MN||1|
COMMENT OF THE GAME THREAD
myjah: "It's Brad Radke's number. Don't make me beat you."