Despite the walk-off home run served up by the Twins bullpen in Thursday’s Opening Day loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the overall pitching was pretty good. And on Saturday it was even better.
Twins pitching no-hit the Orioles until they got a hit with two outs in the eighth inning. Reliever Gabriel Moya then surrendered two runs in the ninth, but the Twins held on and won 6-2. Starter Kyle Gibson blanked the birds for six innings with six strikeouts, but he also walked five batters and had thrown more than 100 pitches by the sixth inning. He was lifted for reliever Ryan Pressly, who gave up the first hit of the night. Gibson, Pressly and Moya combined struck out 11 batters on Saturday.
It’s a good win for Gibson, who continues to pitch well since the second half of the 2017 season. A check of his starts last season shows that he won his first in April, then lost his next three. My fingers are crossed that Gibson will remain consistently good, not bad.
Meanwhile, at the plate on Saturday the Twins got home runs from Miguel Sano, Jason Castro and Max Kepler, who also doubled in the game. That’s a good sign for Sano and Kepler; now, how long before Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton get some hits? Rosario was hitless Saturday, but he made a nice catch in left field, while Buxton, who also was hitless Saturday, is known for starting the season cold.
-Pitcher Phil Hughes is back in a familiar spot — the disabled list, not the rotation. He could return April 11 after he recovers from a left oblique strain.
-Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected 73 times during his tenure with the Twins, earned his 74th ejection in his first game managing the Detroit Tigers. Gardy had a good reason to be mad: The Tigers’ walk-off winning run was overturned on replay in a 13-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
-Jose Berrios gets the ball Sunday.