Through four innings Thursday, Kyle Gibson was cruising and the Twins appeared on their way to salvaging a series split at Fenway Park with a two-run lead over the Red Sox and lefty David Price.But Gibson was the victim of a big inning yet again, struggling through a three-run fifth
Through four innings Thursday, Kyle Gibson was cruising and the Twins appeared on their way to salvaging a series split at Fenway Park with a two-run lead over the Red Sox and lefty David Price.
But Gibson was the victim of a big inning yet again, struggling through a three-run fifth that ultimately gave the Red Sox the lead for good in the Twins' 6-3 loss Thursday. Gibson, who fell to 4-6 and now has a 6.11 ERA, had thrown just 54 pitches through the first four frames, but he threw 27 in the fifth and was hurt by his defense, as well as some tough luck.
Gibson, charged with five runs (three earned) on six hits over 5 2/3 innings, has had trouble containing things when he gets into trouble this season, and that was the case again Thursday, as things snowballed after a leadoff walk to Hanley Ramirez and an RBI double from Jackie Bradley Jr. that hit the ladder on the Green Monster, allowing Ramirez to score from first. Based on its exit velocity of 92.4 mph and launch angle of 30 degrees, the double had a hit percentage of just 13 percent, per Statcast™, and was the first of several things that didn't go Gibson's way that inning.
"It's not a park you get overly comfortable with at any point, but he did have a nice start to the game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Gibby had a good night for the most part. There was a little misfortune in how the game turned."
After the double, Gibson got Christian Vazquez to ground to short, but Jorge Polanco booted it for an error. He had further misfortune when Tzu-Wei Lin hit a comebacker to Gibson, but the defense was preparing for a bunt and no one was covering second to turn a potential double play.
Deven Marrero tied it on a soft grounder to third baseman Eduardo Escobar, allowing Bradley to score from third. And Mookie Betts came through with what proved to be the game-winner with a chopper up the middle that had a hit percentage of only 12 percent, leaving the bat at 92.7 mph with a launch angle of minus-28 degrees.
"It's just really unfortunate," Gibson said. "I felt like I was throwing the ball pretty well tonight, and you run into a couple of ground balls that just weren't hit hard enough. The one to Escobar was a little harder to cut down at home, and then the ball right back to me."
With the way bad luck was a factor in the inning, Molitor came away mostly pleased with Gibson's performance, but he still has reached the six-inning mark in just three of his 14 starts.
"That was one of his better nights," Molitor said. "I thought he used his fastball well. He pitched in and got a couple jam shots on the right-handers. Overall, it was a good outing. A couple things changed it in the wrong direction for him."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.