Gibson's solid outing leads Twins past D-backs
Parmelee comes through in a pinch to key offense in three-run second
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kyle Gibson has seen his fair share of ups and downs in his first full season in the Majors.
He's been one of the club's better starters, but has scuffled recently while pitching in September for the first time in his career. Gibson, though, looked much better Tuesday night, as he turned in his first quality start in more than a month, while Trevor Plouffe added four hits to lead the Twins to a 6-3 win over the D-backs at Target Field.
"He gave us a great opportunity to win," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had some nice swings out there. Plouffe had a really good night. We didn't have one really big inning, but we put some on the board and kept adding on."
Gibson, who had a 7.55 ERA over his last six starts, turned it around in his second-to-last outing of the year. The right-hander gave up just one run on seven hits while tying a career high with eight strikeouts to register his first quality start since Aug. 13. He also improved to 13-11 with a 4.50 ERA on the season. He said it was important to end on a high note in his final start of the year at home, as he's been working hard to make the necessary changes to get out of his recent rut.
"It's always good to have a good outing and make adjustments," said Gibson, who will start the final game of the season on Sunday against the Tigers. "I've been working hard in the bullpen on fastball command. When it translates into the game, it's always a good thing."
The D-backs scored their lone run against Gibson in the fourth on a two-out RBI single from Chris Owings to score Jake Lamb, who led off the inning with a double. Gibson promptly picked Owings off at first base to get out of the inning to end only one of a few scoring threats for Arizona against Gibson.
"He had good stuff," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He had a real good sinker, good slider, kept the ball down, was sneaky. We haven't seen him before and he threw the ball very well for them tonight."
Gibson outpitched Arizona rookie Andrew Chafin, who was making just his third career start. The left-hander lasted three-plus innings, surrendering four runs on seven hits and two walks to get his first career loss.
The Twins, who saw a four-hit performance from Plouffe, got out to an early lead with a three-run second inning. Eduardo Escobar, making his first start at shortstop since jamming his right shoulder on Sept. 16, brought home the first run with a bloop RBI single to right field and went to second on the throw home. Pinch-hitter Chris Parmelee, who replaced Joe Mauer after he left with a right elbow contusion, plated two more runs with a single to left, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double to end the inning.
"He flipped one right down the line," Gardenhire said. "You have to be ready off the bench because you never know what will happen, and he was. It was a big situation."
Minnesota added a run in the fourth, as Eduardo Nunez doubled to lead off the inning and came around to score on an RBI single from Aaron Hicks. The Twins tacked on an insurance run in the fifth, when Josmil Pinto grounded into a run-scoring double play. Pinto gave the Twins another run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly to left field.
The D-backs scored in the eighth against reliever Casey Fien on an RBI groundout from Mark Trumbo and again in the ninth against closer Jared Burton, but it wasn't enough. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Twins, who won their 67th game to mark their highest win total since 2010, as they won 63 games in 2011 and 66 games in '12 and '13.
"The bullpen guys came in and did OK," Gardenhire said. "It was a nice win for our baseball team."