MINNEAPOLIS -- Kyle Gibson delivered a bounce-back start on Wednesday afternoon, but it wasn't enough to help the Twins to a series sweep.
The Tigers topped the Twins, 4-1, at Target Field to take the finale of a three-game set. Gibson tossed six innings and allowed three runs on six hits. He avoided trouble for much of the game, but was stung by Niko Goodrum's two-run homer in the fourth.
In that same fourth inning, Gibson faced six batters and threw 34 pitches. The Twins readied their bullpen in case help was needed, but Gibson navigated his way through trouble and then helped himself out with a quick fifth inning.
"We got someone up, just because you don't want to go past that 40-45 [pitches] in any particular inning," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "A lot of three-ball counts. A lot of foul balls with two strikes, just as far as finishing it, just wasn't happening as far as having an opportunity to have a bit more quicker at-bats. Instead, they got elongated."
Gibson struck out three and walked one. Wednesday marked the seventh consecutive outing in which he has thrown at least five innings.
James Dozier got the Twins going early on when he led off the bottom of the first with a ground-rule double to dead center. In bizarre fashion, Dozier's line drive wedged between two panels of padding at the top of the wall and got stuck, causing Detroit's Leonys Martin to throw up his arms to signal that he couldn't retrieve the ball.
"Well, we were talking about it," Dozier said. "Jeff Kellogg, the second-base umpire, he's been doing this for years. We've seen it in the padding like halfway up, but never at the top. I need to get [with] our strength coach a little bit. So you just wonder. Maybe a couple more biscuits in the morning would do the trick."
Dozier went on to score on a single to right by Eddie Rosario, but Minnesota's offense fell stagnant after that.
Detroit starter Michael Fulmer kept the Twins handcuffed, striking out five while allowing four hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings. Minnesota saw a chance to cut its deficit in the fifth when Byron Buxton stretched a single up the middle into extra bases for a one-out double with the top of the order due up. But Buxton was left stranded when Fulmer got Dozier to pop out and then struck out Max Kepler to end the inning.
In the eighth, the Twins saw another chance for the top of their order to spark a rally when Dozier drew a leadoff walk. But Kepler followed by dribbling a grounder up the middle that Jose Iglesias gathered for a 6-3 double play.
Rosario followed with his third single of the day, but was left stranded when Eduardo Escobar struck out to end the inning.
"As we knew, it was going to be a tough opponent and a tall order," Molitor said. "We made [Fulmer] work. We got his pitch count up there. We just couldn't break through with any big numbers."
The Tigers had a chance to blow the game open in the bottom of the eighth when they loaded the bases and scored another run on a JaCoby Jones RBI single. But Zach Duke came on to retire Detroit's 8-9-1 hitters to end the threat.
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Buxton reached a top speed of 30 feet per second on his double in the fifth, according to Statcast™. He went from home to second in 7.88 seconds, which was his second-fastest time on a double this year. His personal best is 7.21 seconds, on a double against the Rays on Sept. 12, 2017.
"Anytime he splits defenders, he's thinking double," Molitor said. "Not too many guys I can think of would be able to get there safely. He just puts pressure on defense. That time of the game, we're trailing by a couple, but it's still the right play to try to get into scoring position."
The Twins will get Thursday off before heading to Seattle for a three-game set with the Mariners that begins at 9:10 p.m. CST on Friday. Fernando Romero will get the nod for Minnesota in search of his third win of the season. The 23-year-old righty has a 1.66 ERA during his rookie campaign.