The best of the Class of 2009 was on display at Target Field on Tuesday night.
And Miguel Sano wasn’t bad, either.
Sano was the darling of the Twins’ international haul in 2009. He made his anticipated major league debut last week and, on Tuesday, socked the first of what the Twins hope will be many home runs.
But righthander Kyle Gibson was the Twins’ first-round draft pick that year and touted as a future fixture in the rotation. He has begun to come into his own this season and, with help from Sano and friends, led the Twins to an 8-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Target Field.
Gibson held the Orioles to two runs over six innings. Sano hit a two-run homer and drew a bases-loaded walk. The future has turned into the present, and it helped the Twins win consecutive games for the first time since June 18-19. Now they have a chance to sweep the three-game series Wednesday afternoon after limping home following a 4-6 road trip.
Sano blasted a 1-1 pitch from Kevin Gausman into the left-field stands in the first inning for a two-run homer that put the Twins up 3-0. It came in his sixth major league game and 21st plate appearance.
The Twins gave him the silent treatment when he reached the dugout.
“I said, ‘OK,’ ” Sano said. “I see when [Eddie] Rosario hit his first homer, everyone do that. Now it’s me.”
Jarrod Cicha, 23, of Isanti, Minn., was the fan who caught Sano’s homer. He received an autographed bat and tickets to a future game.
“I’m glad I could give it back to him,” Cicha said. “A ballplayer’s first homer belongs to them.”
Gibson needed the early cushion. He used 36 pitches to get through the first two innings. He struck out Chris Davis and Matt Wieters to strand two on base in the first and later retired nine consecutive batters before Travis Snider singled in the fifth. Gibson held the Orioles to two runs and six hits, striking out seven and walking one over six innings.
“All these are learning experiences,” Gibson said. “And it’s definitely a good feeling when you can go out there and can execute a couple pitches when you don’t feel your best and have the defense make great plays behind you.”
The Twins added a run in the third when Rosario struck out but reached base on Gausman’s wild pitch. Joe Mauer scored from third on the play.
Brian Dozier hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth to make it 5-0, then the Twins loaded the bases for Sano. Gausman was pulled for Brad Bach.
Sano swung mightily at a Bach pitch and missed. Then he calmly worked the count full and laid off a pitch low and away for a bases-loaded walk, pushing the Twins’ lead to 6-0. Rosario followed with a two-run single for an 8-0 lead.
Gibson made his one big mistake in the fifth when J.J. Hardy nicked him for a two-run homer. But Gibson improved to 7-6 — matching Phil Hughes for the team lead in wins — while his ERA held at 3.04.
“I try to remind the guys they are going to get a well-deserved break next week after five months since mid-February,” manager Paul Molitor said, “but don’t get ahead of yourselves. Don’t let yourself drift. You have to play this week out the best that you can.”
Staff writer Josh Hyber contributed to this report.