Rangers rally, win Gibson's return to Minn.

May 5th, 2021

Right-hander Kyle Gibson is familiar with Target Field, his home field for almost seven years when he was with the Twins. Now, as a member of the Rangers, he was a visitor on Tuesday night.

Gibson struck out eight and allowed just three hits over eight innings, but he ended up with a no-decision as the Rangers won the game, 6-3, in 10 innings.

The score was tied at 3 when the Rangers took the lead in the top of the 10th. With Twins left-hander Brandon Waddell on the mound, Adolis García hit a two-run homer over the left-field wall. The Rangers added to their lead against Waddell when Joey Gallo scored on a double by Charlie Culberson.

"For some reason, Adolis has a flair for the dramatic. He seems to get a big hit when we need it, a big home run when we need it,” manager Chris Woodward said. “It’s not surprising, I guess. It speaks about this team because of the energy that we have. It’s pretty special.”

Gibson found himself facing the team that employed his services from 2013-19. He won 67 games for the Twins and helped them reach the postseason in 2017 and 2019. It meant a lot to him to be able to talk to Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson before the game. 

“I had a chance to pitch [at Target Field] quite a bit. It was good to be back on the mound,” Gibson said. “As much as pitching in the game, it was seeing people I haven’t seen in a long time.

“When I realized I was going to pitch here, I said, ‘I want to go out there and throw well, and I want to win the four games that we are here.’ There are things in life that are bigger than baseball. I was going to enjoy this time regardless of how tonight went. But things went well, and we had a lot of fun.”

Gibson acknowledged that he was amped up, and it showed during the first inning. With one out and the Rangers leading, 1-0, he walked Josh Donaldson, then allowed a two-run homer to Byron Buxton that gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead. It was the first homer he allowed this season. 

“[After that] I calmed down a little bit. I was probably anxious and amped up a little bit. The Twins were really patient in the first inning. They caught me off guard a little bit,” he said. “The pitch to Buxton was one of my worst sliders of the night. That comes from being a little more amped up. I was a little more excited. You end up leaving the ball up when you are trying to go down and in.”

Gibson found himself in a groove after that, retiring 13 out of the next 15 hitters he faced. He relied heavily on the changeup during the middle innings, as he had a feeling that the Twins were looking for the slider.  

"If they are looking soft, then normally, they are going to lean out to get the slider vs. the changeup,” he said. “Honestly, we didn’t plan to throw that many changeups, but as the night wore on, it just seemed like that was maybe my best offspeed pitch in the last three innings."

But the long ball came back to bite him again when Willians Astudillo hit a home run over the left-field wall in the fifth to increase Minnesota’s lead.

"[Gibson] settled in. I think he found himself in those middle innings. He looked sharp,” Twins manager Rocco Badelli said. “His offspeed stuff looked very good. He leaned on what looked like a changeup -- it was being called a changeup up on the board a little bit. I think his slider was sharp tonight, too. He kept us off balance, especially throughout the whole middle of that ballgame. He pitched a good game.”

After scoring a run on García’s RBI single in the first inning, the Rangers were held off the scoreboard until the ninth, when Willie Calhoun homered and Isiah Kiner-Falefa tied the score with a sac fly.