Kyle Gibson received a text message from injured Twins teammate Glen Perkins that helped the righthander prepare for Thursday's start against the Royals.
" 'Pitch like this is a spring training game,' " Gibson said of the message. "It was a good reminder. A little bit of a perspective there. There's still a hitter up there and it's still me trying to execute pitches."
Gibson had some success at that Thursday as he faced 10 batters before giving up his first hit, a single by Mike Moustakas in the third inning.
Twins manager Paul Molitor removed Gibson after he gave up two hits in the sixth inning, including a solo homer by Moustakas. In five-plus innings in the 5-3 victory over Kansas City, Gibson gave up three earned runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
Gibson has struggled pitching deep into games, which has kept him from becoming one of the better pitchers in the league. He tweaked his mechanics during the offseason and entered the season full of confidence, going 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA in Grapefruit League games.
"There were a lot of good things about how Kyle threw the ball," Molitor said.
The Twins have scored 21 runs in three games, so some of Molitor's lineup-crafting has paid off, but the strikeouts continue for No. 3 hitter Byron Buxton.
On Thursday, Buxton left the bases loaded in the sixth when he struck out against Peter Moylan on three pitches. He did work a walk in the eighth inning.
Buxton, who has power potential to go with blazing speed, was 1-for-14 in the three games with seven strikeouts.
"We're trying to get him to just settle in," Molitor said. "Similarly to the 3-0 start, it can seem magnified. He's having a little tough time with the bat right now. Let's let it play out. Let him get some more at-bats."
So no chance he's moved down in the order? "I'm not thinking about doing that right now," Molitor said. "We just won three games."
Righthander Ryan Pressly, during his last outing of spring training on March 30, was clobbered for four earned runs on two hits and two walks. The coaching staff did not take the performance lightly and has since worked with him on commanding his fastball better.
"We tweaked a little bit of his mechanics to try to get him back on line," Molitor said. "A couple good side sessions — not on the mound, flat ground — where he got a better feel."
Pressly has thrown two scoreless outings so far, including on Thursday when he entered the game with one out in the sixth inning and the bases loaded. He got Paulo Orlando to line out to center, then Alcides Escobar to bounce into a force play.
"To get off the field without them taking the lead was huge," Molitor said.
• Perkins threw in the bullpen Wednesday and took part in long-toss drills Thursday as he continues to work his way back from shoulder surgery last season.
• Lefthander Ryan O'Rourke, on the disabled list because of a strained left forearm, is still working the inflammation out before he begins a throwing program.
• Infielder Ehire Adrianza has not swung a bat yet as he recovers from a right oblique strain.