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Red Sox 9, Twins 4: Gibby loses control

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Gibson struggles early, offense can’t catch up

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins
Oh, Gibby. You’ll get ‘em next time.
David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

After a 17-inning, marathon victory on Tuesday night, the Twins finished the series with a whimper on Wednesday and dropped the three-game series to the Red Sox in the process.

The Twins’ offense has sputtered slightly over the past few days and the bullpen has stumbled through the entire homestand, but this time, it was the starting pitching that came up short.

Following up on a dominant, eight-inning, two-hit performance in a win over Kansas City, Kyle Gibson couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning against Boston. Uncharacteristically, it was a lack of control that torpedoed the outing.

Gibson walked five batters in 4 13 innings. He also gave up seven hits and only tallied three strikeouts.

After the Twins had scored a run in the bottom of the first on three straight hits, Gibson gave up three runs in the top of the second. Then, the wheels completely came off in the fifth inning as Gibson gave way to Ryne Harper with only one out in the inning.

What made it even more frustrating was that the Twins had clobbered a pair of solo home runs — one by Tuesday’s hero Max Kepler and one by the best Rochester Red Wing of all-time Willians Astudillo — in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-3 lead. But Gibson couldn’t pull it together and things kept heading downhill from there.

The Twins never really threatened again, outside of a leadoff infield single in the fifth from Eddie Rosario and getting two runners on base with two down in the eighth.

As part of the flurry of roster moves from earlier in the day, the Twins called up Sean Poppen to make his major league debut, and he saved Rocco Baldelli’s bullpen on the night following a marathon of a game.

Poppen struggled mightily with his control, including walking his first big-league batter on four pitches. Ultimately, he walked four batters in four innings and threw 39 of 70 pitches for strikes, but his fastball was consistently around 95 miles per hour and he threw a handful of truly nasty sliders. Clearly, Poppen has the arm to at the very least get a real shot at being part of a major league bullpen.

All things considered, it was one of the more deflating losses of the season so far, but it’s also important to remember that the following regular starters were out of the lineup: Marwin Gonzalez, Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, Jonathan Schoop, and Mitch Garver. It will be interesting to see whether or not Baldelli tries to get both Garver and Jason Castro in the starting lineup with Astudillo back on the team.

Notes

  • It’s been about a week since the Twins have had an ultra-sloppy game...since the last time that yours truly wrote a recap, actually. While five errors is a clear outlier, the sloppy games have been a bit more frequent of late for Rocco Baldelli’s club.

Studs

  • Willians Astudillo: 3-for-4, HR, RBI
  • Eddie Rosario: 2-for-4, RBI
  • Max Kepler: 1-for-4, HR

Duds

  • Kyle Gibson: 4 13 innings, 6 ER, 7 H, 5 BB, 3 K
  • Jake Cave: 0-for-4, 3 K
  • Miguel Sano: 0-for-3, 2 K, BB