MINNEAPOLIS — Kyle Gibson knew he didn’t have to do too much to give his slugging teammates a chance to win on Saturday, but the Minnesota Twins starting pitcher went out and threw a gem anyway.
Gibson pitched seven strong innings, C.J. Cron and Ehire Adrianza each drove in four runs and the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 8-1 for their 10th win in 11 games.
Gibson (5-2) gave up five hits and walked none while striking out nine. Only four White Sox batters reached second base on the day, and he retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.
The veteran right-hander said with the Twins’ offense leading the majors in runs and homers, the starting pitchers know they can be the key to making this a special season in Minneapolis.
“Rarely are we going to have three or four games in a row where we only score one or two runs,” Gibson said. “So it’s going to be up to the starting pitching to be consistent.”
His only blemish was José Abreu’s leadoff homer in the fourth inning, but the Twins immediately tacked on three more runs in the bottom half of the inning. Cron drove in two runs with a single and Adrianza drove him home with a base hit to hand Gibson a 5-1 lead.
“That always makes a big difference, and that’s what really creates that feel in the locker room,” Gibson said. “When we show up knowing there’s going to be six or seven runs on the board, it gives everybody confidence.”
Adrianza capped the scoring with a three-run homer to right in the eighth inning. It was Minnesota’s 102nd home run of the season, tops in the major leagues.
BLOWN FLY BALL
White Sox starter Manny Bañuelos (2-4) was back after missing his last turn in the rotation with a sore shoulder. He got into trouble quickly by walking two straight batters with two outs in the first, and was then hurt by a costly defensive miscue.
Cron hit a high, short fly ball on a 3-0 pitch, but the ball drifted on right fielder Charlie Tilson, who staggered under it until it fell just out of his reach in the alley. The gift double gave Cron two RBIs and the Twins a 2-0 lead.
“I don’t intend to make an excuse,” Tilson said. “I’ve got to make that play. You know going into the game the ball is moving a lot and as outfielders, we know we’ve got to keep our feet moving. Unfortunately, I just got caught in a bad position and couldn’t make up.”
Bañuelos wasn’t blaming his defense.
“I know the wind was crazy today. I understand that,” Bañuelos said. “There’s some games where they make great plays for us. There’s sometimes when that happens.”
BUZZ IS GROWING
With the weather warming up in Minnesota and the Twins holding the best record in the major leagues, their fans are showing some appreciation. After a 6-1 road trip last week, the Twins have drawn some of their best crowds of the season for the first two games of the series. Saturday’s attendance of 39,139 was the first sellout since opening day, and the players noticed it.
“It’s been fun the last couple of nights for sure,” Cron said. “It seems when we do something well they get excited, they cheer for us and we definitely feel it as players. We have a good ballclub. I think there’s reason for them to come out, I think we definitely feed off that.