Five-run fifth more than good enough to back Kyle Gibson in Twins win
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Unfazed by the subfreezing temperature at first pitch, Kyle Gibson, pitched a career-high eight scoreless innings for the Minnesota Twins in a 7-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday that opened a day-night doubleheader.
Gibson (3-0) took the mound for the coldest start for an outdoor game in Twins history, 31 degrees, and breezed through a Blue Jays lineup that totaled 20 runs in the previous two games. He walked one, struck out four and scattered four singles.
Gibson had a rough rookie year, but the former first-round amateur draft pick has been the early stalwart of a rotation that has otherwise struggled. He lowered his ERA to 0.93.
After wintry weather forced postponement of Wednesday's game, workers scrambled all morning to melt snow and ice from the seating areas, and the grounds crew dried the warning track. The Twins even sent out a company-wide memo asking for help. Slush still sat along the edges of the plaza behind right field, and the highest seating level was closed off because it wasn't cleared in time, giving those customers an unexpected upgrade.
The announced paid attendance was 20,507, but the actual number of people present was probably half of that at most. The previous lowest first-pitch temperature the Twins played in was 32 degrees on May 2, 1967, at Metropolitan Stadium. Their home was the covered, climate-controlled Metrodome from 1982-09.
Minnesota beat the Blue Jays for just the fifth time in the last 22 meetings.
The cold didn't help Dickey's knuckleball, and he had trouble spotting it all afternoon. Needing 112 pitches to get 13 outs, Dickey didn't finish the fifth inning when the Twins batted around. His ERA rose to 6.26, after he allowed seven hits, five walks and five runs while striking out four.
Dickey was frustrated at times with the strike zone of plate umpire Chris Guccione, providing unsolicited feedback as he left for the dugout after the fourth inning, but his trouble transcended that.
Jason Kubel also had an RBI single in the fifth, and the Twins added another run that inning on Kurt Suzuki's sacrifice fly after Todd Redmond relieved Dickey. The sun came out in the fifth, too, providing another highlight for the fans brave enough to come.
Joe Mauer's sharp single bounced foul in the sixth, but it was ruled fair after grazing first baseman Edwin Encarnacion's glove. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons came out to talk with the umpires, but that play was not reviewable. Chris Colabello capped the two-run inning with an RBI double.
--The last Twins pitcher to win each of his first three starts as a member of the opening day rotation was Livan Hernandez in 2008.
--Dickey is 1/3 with a 6.58 ERA in six career starts against the Twins.
--Mauer was announced as MLB's ambassador for the All-Star game, to be held at Target Field on July 15. He'll help generate awareness for events around town the week of the midsummer event. Mauer is a six-time All-Star selection.© The Associated Press