CLEVELAND — A couple of extras from Progressive Field:
Kyle Gibson watched the Twins take first-inning leads and then fail to score again on Wednesday and Thursday, leading to back-to-back damaging losses to the Tigers. But he swears he wasn’t thinking, when Eddie Rosario’s home run staked him to a 1-0 lead on Friday, that he wasn’t going to get any more support.
“I try not to think about that,” the veteran righthander said. “I’ve got a job bigger than worrying about [whether] one run is going to hold up, you know?”
Turns out, worrying wasn’t necessary. The Twins scored three more runs off Corey Kluber, of all people, and then a couple more — on an error and a balk, thank you very much — off the Indians’ beleaguered bullpen, Tyler Olson and Dan Otero in this case. (Otero ended up with one of the weirder stat lines you’ll see: 1 2/3 innings, one balk, nothing else.)
It was certainly no surprise that Rosario provided the first run; he’s collected a first-inning extra-base hit and then scored in three straight games.
“Man, he’s been so good. That guy has just been a spark plug,” Gibson said. “He’s done such a great job putting up runs early and getting big hits. The walk-off homers, the go-ahead homers. He’s a guy that’s never intimidated up there, it doesn’t matter who he’s facing. He’s seeing the ball really well and putting a lot of really good swings on the ball.”
And Gibson believes that Friday’s outing might be the start of some better times for the Twins, who won their 30th game.
“In general as an offense, we’re still waiting to get going. I think a night like tonight could really spark us against a guy who’s been dominant all year,” Gibson said. “To see us come out with that kind of confidence and put that many good swings on Kluber … “
How did Paul Molitor judge Joe Mauer’s first major-league at-bats in four weeks?
“Well, he got practice running to first,” the manager cracked about Mauer’s four groundouts.
But there’s a logical reason for his 0-for-4, too, Molitor said, beyond being out for a month. Facing Yankee farmhands earlier this week might not have been the best preparation for Corey Kluber.
“He saw a lot of high velocity, which a lot of the Yankees do. And today, he saw Kluber, who is a bit of a different animal. I think he had trouble letting the ball travel and slowing down a little bit,” Molitor said. “He got out in front a few times and he rolled over a few pitches. But it was still good to see him out there. I’m not too worried about timing and those things. We’ll just bring him along slowly.”