ANAHEIM, CALIF. – Kyle Gibson entered Angel Stadium on Friday from the right field corner while carrying a box filled with sacks of hamburgers.
Not just any burger, but In-N-Out burger. It's not established in the Upper Midwest, but the neatly- wrapped and flavor-packed burger is the preferred fare on this end of the country.
And Gibson had his teammates chowing down on them before they warmed up for Friday's game against the Angels.
Their bellies full of greasy energy, the Twins went out and beat the Angels 11-5 and have won the first two games of this four-game series.
So In-N-Out might have hits in them.
"They might, because even I got a hit tonight," said catcher Chris Gimenez, who was 1-for-5.
The Twins collected 14 hits off Angels pitching and belted three home runs. Joe Mauer went 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI as he raised his batting average to .294, the highest it has been this late in a season since the end of 2013.
"It was one of those nights where I got good pitches to hit and didn't miss them," Mauer said. "The night before, I got a couple good pitches and missed, so it was good to come back today and get them."
Robbie Grossman and Max Kepler each homered and collected two hits. Grossman, Kepler and manager Paul Molitor all wanted to eat a burger too, but they were gone before they could get to Gibson.
"Mollie wanted one, and there weren't enough to go around," Gimenez said.
Well, there are two days left to make burger runs - and score runs. It was just the third time this season the Twins have reached double digits in runs scored. And the Twins improved their impressive road record to 16-5.
And, with the Indians being shut out by the Royals on Friday, the Twins took sole possession of first place in the American League Central Division.
Did the burger bash help Gibson? Yes and no. Gibson, 2-4, retired 11 of 12 batters at one point and took a shutout into the sixth inning. He ran out of gas there as Los Angeles scored twice and knocked him from the game.
But that run in the early innings is the type of pitcher the Twins think Gibson is capable of.
"That's what we think he can be," Molitor said. "It's not like he hasn't done it. At times, he's just gotten away from those things. He's a thinker on the mound, sometimes to a fault."
Gibson, as well as Twins relievers, were able to keep Albert Pujols stuck on 599 career home runs in front of an announced crowd of 39,042. Pujols went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against the Twins, including a groundout in the eighth inning against lefthander Randy Rosario, who was making his major league debut.
Mauer bashed a two-run home run to left-center in the first inning to open the scoring. It was his fourth homer of the season and 10th in 80 games against the Angels.
Grossman and Kepler each connected for two run home run off of Angels starter J.C. Ramirez in the third as the Twins took a 6-0 lead. Miguel Sano added a RBI single in the fifth to give the Twins a 7-0 lead.
After the Angels chased Gibson with two runs in the sixth, the Twins added four more runs on the eighth. That included a two-run double by Byron Buxton.
The next step for Gibson is to get into the seventh inning. But he felt he made progress.
And he might have to continue the burger runs this weekend. The idea was hatched after a conversation between him and Ervin Santana about their favorite burger joints.
"He's a big In-N-Out fan," Gibson said. "I don't have In-N-Out on the top of my list, so I decided I would try it today and bring Erv a burger and everyone else who wanted one."
Has Gibson changed his mind?
"It's a good burger," Gibson said, "but I like Five Guys a little better."