FORT MYERS, FLA. – Twins starters face two thresholds during their spring training outings, innings or pitches thrown, whichever comes first.
And Kyle Gibson was back in the clubhouse after two innings, an inning early, because he needed 45 pitches to get through two laborious innings during the Twins’ 6-5 loss to the Marlins on Friday.
Gibson gave up two runs over two innings, allowing seven batters to reach base.
“I didn’t have fastball command today,” Gibson said. “The sinker wasn’t really sinking. That’s why I ended up getting behind on those pitches inside to lefties.”
No command. No sink. No good for a sinkerballer. Miami jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind an RBI single by J.T. Realmuto in the first and a sacrifice fly by Marcell Ozuna in the second. But Gibson continued to work on his curveball, a pitch he’s determined to use more this season.
“The curveball actually has been pleasantly surprising,” Gibson said. “If there’s anything to take away from that is that the curveball and slider and changeup were fairly good today.
‘‘If I can keep that curveball right there, then it’s going to be a pitch I’m going to be able to use this year.”
Gibson’s spot in the rotation is secure, so he has the luxury of spinning curveballs until he’s satisfied with the results. But he kept catcher John Ryan Murphy on his toes for two innings as he failed to spot his fastball.
“A lot of just misses and probably too many 1-0 counts for him,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “But everything else was fine as far as using his pitches, changeups, sliders. Got his pitch count up there fairly rapidly with the baserunners and deep counts.”
Brian Dozier made it 2-1 in the third when he scored from third as Eddie Rosario was thrown out trying to steal second. After Miami took a 3-1 lead in the fourth, Byung Ho Park hit a solo home run to left, his third homer of the spring, to make it 3-2. The Twins scored twice in the fifth, on an RBI double by Miguel Sano and infield single by Max Kepler as the Twins took a 4-3 lead.
But the Marlins scored twice in the seventh to take a 5-4 lead and never trailed again. Yefri Perez’s RBI single in the eighth off Randy Rosario was the game-winning hit.
Dee Gordon, the defending NL batting champion, went 2-for-3 to lead the Marlins. Sano was 2-for-2. Juan Centeno, a minor league free-agent catcher, was 1-for-2 and is batting .556 this spring. He ended the game by flying out to left with two runners on base — following a lengthy at-bat.
“He’s one of those lefthanded guys who can slice it out there and battle,” Molitor said of Centeno. “That was a heck of an at-bat to finish the game.’’