Postgame: Gibson knew Sandoval would swing

  • Blog Post by: Phil Miller
  • May 24, 2014 - 1:14 AM

    In case you didn't stay up late, here are a handful of leftovers from the Twins' 6-2 loss in San Francisco on Friday:

    TWINS KNEW IT WAS COMING: Three hours after Pablo Sandoval drilled a pitch into the right-field seats, Kyle Gibson was still upset with himself over it. In their pregame meeting, the Twins pointed out that Sandoval is 17-for-33 when he swings at the first pitch, including seven extra-base hits. So Gibson knew Sandoval would be aggressive with two runners on base. "You see [his] next at-bat, he had another guy in scoring position, and he was just ready to go swing. So I threw a good curveball, and that's probably what I should have done the first time," Gibson said. Instead, he threw a four-seam fastball intended to tie up Sandoval on the hands, but it drifted out over the plate. "If I could do it over again, I'd throw the same pitch, just make sure I throw it in," Gibson said. "Like [catcher] Kurt [Suzuki] said, either throw a strike on the corner or hit him on the elbow. That's where you miss, you don't miss over the plate."

    CAN'T HIT THE CURVE: Gibson's night wasn't any more successful at the plate, where he held a bat in a game for the first time in eight years. He struck out in the second inning, after looking at an unhittable 12-to-6 curveball from Tim Lincecum -- how's that for professional courtesy, huh? -- and grounded to third in the fourth. "Shoot, I'd really love to talk about how much fun it was to hit tonight. Unfortunately I really can't," said Gibson, laughing at the experience. "The first pitch he thew me, [pitching coach Rick Anderson] said was 89 [mph], but it looked like it was 95. And he throws me a nasty curveball -- I had no chance. I'm pretty sure I swung [at strike three] when the ball was in the catcher's mitt."

    FIRST PLAY, MISPLAY: The game began on a promising note for the Twins, with Brian Dozier slamming Lincecum's first pitch off the left-field wall for a double. But then something weird happened: Dozier, the Twins' best player so far this year, made a mental mistake. With Joe Mauer at the plate and a 1-1 count, Dozier tried to catch the Giants by surprise, apparently believing he could beat Sandoval to third base. Unfortunately, he took off for third base before Lincecum went into his windup, so the pitcher simply stepped off the rubber and threw him out at third. "Not a good play there," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Joe Mauer up, you're trying to be a little too aggressive. Not a good way to start." He learned his lesson: After Dozier singled in the third, he stayed put, and scored when Mauer smacked a liner into right-center, his first triple since Sept. 23, 2012.

    PITCHING PLANS: Gardenhire apologized to the Giants during his postgame meeting with the media, for confusion over this weekend's pitching plans. Before a series starts, teams are supposed to disclose, as best they can, who will start each game on the mound. (Las Vegas takes a great interest in this information, too.) The Twins informed the Giants that Ricky Nolasco would start on Saturday and Samuel Deduno on Sunday, but changed that plan earlier in the week when Nolasco reported some tightness in his hamstring. Just to be sure, the Twins pushed Nolasco's start by a day, but word never reached the other clubhouse. Nolasco threw in the bullpen in San Diego, by the way, and reported no issues.

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