BOSTON -- Right-hander Kyle Gibson did his best to keep the Twins from being sellers with a masterful performance against the Red Sox, but he ultimately increased his trade value in case the club does decide to sell before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.Gibson, who remains under contract through next year
BOSTON -- Right-hander Kyle Gibson did his best to keep the Twins from being sellers with a masterful performance against the Red Sox, but he ultimately increased his trade value in case the club does decide to sell before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Gibson, who remains under contract through next year and has been linked to clubs such as the Brewers and Yankees, threw eight strong innings on a career-high 120 pitches to lift the Twins to a 2-1 win on Thursday night at Fenway Park. He scattered four hits and two walks while striking out seven to improve to 5-7 with a 3.42 ERA. It helped Minnesota to its fourth straight win to move seven games behind the first-place Indians.
"I don't think anybody in here wants to be sellers, and I know the front office wants that type of attitude out of us," Gibson said. "We believe that we can come back on this. We believe we might be the only team that can catch Cleveland. And we're really confident. We're playing our best baseball."
Gibson admitted it's been strange hearing his name involved trade rumors for the first time in his six-year career, but he is trying to make the decision of whether to sell difficult for the front office.
"It's tough," Gibson said. "You try to focus on the plan each day, not really knowing if today is the day you come in and you're going somewhere else. I don't know, the front office would be able to tell you, but maybe that's why nothing's happened yet. I think they still believe we can come back from this."
The lone run against Gibson came in the second on a double play from Mookie Betts with Jackie Bradley Jr. getting thrown out by Joe Mauer at third to end the frame. Gibson came back out for the eighth despite being at 105 pitches, and retired the side in order, while getting helped by a tremendous defensive play from shortstop Ehire Adrianza, who made a diving stop and throw to get Betts. Gibson retired the last 10 batters he faced and didn't allow a hit after the fourth inning.
"The job he did, getting through eight, it was an impressive outing by him against a really good lineup," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We were trying to ride Gibby as long as we could, as long as we thought he was effective, and he made it work out."
Mitch Garver was again the hero offensively, smacking a go-ahead RBI double off reliever Matt Barnes in the eighth to score James Dozier with two outs. Garver went 7-for-10 in Toronto, including a five-RBI performance on Wednesday.
"I'm slowing the game down when I'm at the plate," Garver said. "I'm just trying to see the ball and hit a good pitch."
The Twins put the pressure on Red Sox lefty Christopher Johnson early but saw their rally attempt fizzle out in the first despite three hits and a walk. Mauer was thrown out at home on a single to center from Eduardo Escobar, as Bradley made a perfect throw to catcher Blake Swihart to make the tag. It was the first time Mauer had been thrown out at home all season. After a walk to load the bases, Robbie Grossman struck out to end the rally.
Minnesota also wasted another scoring opportunity in the sixth, when Eddie Rosario walked and Dozier singled to center. Rosario aggressively took third on the play and Dozier went to second, drawing a throw, which prompted Rosario to try to dash for home, only to get thrown out by second baseman Brock Holt.
The Twins finally scored in the seventh after back-to-back singles from Grossman and Max Kepler off reliever Richard Hembree. Adrianza brought home the run on a double-play grounder. It wasn't much offensive output for the Twins, but it was enough for Gibson, who Molitor hopes will remain in Minnesota.
"The way he's throwing, he's an attractive piece," Molitor said. "But I think the job he's done here, we'll have to see where that goes. He's throwing extremely well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rodney escapes jam: Closer Fernando Rodney ran into trouble in the ninth, giving up a leadoff single and putting the winning run at second base with one out. But he wriggled out of a jam with the bases loaded despite falling behind Bradley, 3-0, before throwing three straight fastballs to get a strikeout and record his 22nd save and his first since July 12.
It was the 322nd save of Rodney's career, moving him into sole possession of 19th on the all-time list. Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel is 18th on the list with 323 saves.
"When you make history like that, you have to entertain all the people," Rodney said. "It's like when you ride the bull. Why do you ride like that? You have to make the other guy think about it. Tonight, was very hard, and at the same time, I feel very proud of it."
Over the past calendar year, Gibson has a 3.46 ERA in 32 starts with 185 strikeouts in 192 1/3 innings. He also has a 1.56 ERA in four career starts at Fenway Park.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Rosario was credited with a four-star catch by Statcast™ for his tumbling grab to rob Holt of a hit and save a run to end the bottom of the fourth. Rosario had to cover 78 feet in 4.4 seconds, giving it a catch probability of 39 percent.
HE SAID IT
"I'm hoping not, you know. These guys are a great group of guys, and shoot, I think we can come back and make a push to the division, and I'm going to be excited to be a part of it." -- Gibson, on if it could have been his last game in a Twins uniform
Right-hander Lance Lynn (7-8, 5.23 ERA) will take the mound in the second game of the series on Friday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Lynn, who is a trade candidate, struggled in his last start, walking six and allowing three runs over five innings in a loss to the Royals on Saturday. The Red Sox will start ace Chris Sale (11-4, 2.13).
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.