The Twins beat the Royals 6-2 on a beautiful afternoon, and they scored five runs in the first inning. Kansas City pitcher Wade Davis had a lot of trouble finding the strike zone, which was evident by a number of walks. When he did find the zone, the Twins pounded the pitches for hits. It took 53 pitches to get through the first inning.
The key hits for the Twins came from Justin Morneau, with a two-run double, and Trevor Plouffe, with a two-run homer to left field. That got the crowd of 36,000-plus to its feet. It's not often the Twins put up a five spot in the first inning.
Davis struggled in the second as well and didn't even record an out before the Royals turned to their bullpen. The Twins offense was pretty well tamed after that. Davis threw 69 pitches and only recorded three outs, which apparently is a record for the highest number of pitches to get three outs.
|The Kansas City Royals loaded the bases in the eighth inning Saturday, but |
Twins pitcher Casey Fien was able to get out of the it with two strikeouts.
The baseball is in the white circle. Photo credit: Kevin Hanson.
One of the most exciting things about the game however, was the major league debut of Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson, a 25-year-old righthander who was a first-round draft pick. He got the win Saturday, becoming the first, first-round pick to win his first start in the majors in Twins history. That's a lot of "firsts," but you get the idea.
|Righthander Kyle Gibson pitched |
six strong innings Saturday.
But Gibson had a strong outing. He got into a little trouble in the third inning when he gave up the two runs, but he got out of the jam and went on to pitch six innings for a quality start. He gave up eight hits and the two earned runs but didn't walk a batter and notched five strikeouts.
I think maybe some people thought he'd be back out for the seventh, so he didn't get as much of an ovation as he deserved after he walked to the dugout following the sixth inning and his 91 total pitches.
Reading the game recap from the Star Tribune, I guess Gibson wanted to go back out for the seventh as well. He told pitching coach Rick Anderson to leave him in until a runner reached base. Anderson didn't go for the idea from the rookie pitcher, which is probably just as well.
Gibson looks promising as a strong part of the Twins rotation that can have its share of off days. The Indiana native had a setback with Tommy John surgery in 2011, but I'm hoping to see him on the mound for awhile.
Reunion and birthday celebration at the ball park
The game Saturday was exciting for reasons other than the play on the field. I attended with four of my friends and former co-workers from the Austin Post-Bulletin. We started the day with food and drinks at Hubert's, and then got to Target Field just in time for the game.
For my friends - Kay, Kevin, LeAnn and Rose - it was their inaugural visit to Target Field. On such a warm, sunny summer day, I'm pretty sure they all enjoyed it. It helps when there's a good game being played as well.
Saturday, June 29, was also Kay's birthday. And boy, do we know how to celebrate birthdays. Did you also know that June 29 was the late Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew's birthday, too? If you didn't, Kay will tell you. She's so proud to have that Harmon-birthday connection, and I don't blame her.
So to sum up Saturday's outing, it was a day filled with good weather, good baseball and good friends. One of those days that gives meaning to the saying, "time flies when you're having fun."
Happy birthday, Kay!
|Kevin, Heather, Kay, Rose, LeAnn. Photo credit: Target Field usher.|