6/22: Gibson Goes 6.0, Buxton Makes Incredible Catch as Twins Top Phillies 6-5

It was a crazy game, although not as crazy as the 14-10 victory over the Phillies the night before, but the Minnesota Twins were able to win their third straight game by topping Philadelphia 6-5 on Wednesday night.

After a 70-minute rain delay, Kyle Gibson was not at his best, but he went 6.0 innings despite giving up eight hits and four earned runs in his outing.

“Maybe not quite as good as last time,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor. “The game kinda had a few turns as far as his outing. I thought he came out aggressive and they were first-pitch swinging, so he kinda went to his off-speed stuff.

“And then after he had done that for a while, they started adjusting to that, and then he had a little trouble getting his fastball back, I thought.

“But he stayed with it, he was making pitches. He had the one inning where he gave up a couple big hits. I think Blanco and the big boy got him up the middle there.”

That’s Andres Blanco and Ryan Howard. Blanco was 3-for-4 with a career-high three hits. Howard collected his first RBI since June 13. Maikel Franco also drew two walks.

Gibson was not thrilled with his performance after the game, but sounded encouraged in his third start since coming off the disabled list.

It was a topsy-turvy game, with Minnesota taking a 1-0 lead in the first, relinquishing it in the second, then making it back up, only to tie it 2-2 after the third.

A big fifth inning in which both teams scored three runs to make it 5-5 nearly got out of hand.

With two outs Odubel Harrera advanced on a bunt-single and Max Kepler committed a fielding error, and Ryan Howard tied the game with an RBI single.

“They put together a big inning,” said Molitor. “Esco got a little bit of a misread on that first ground ball to start the inning on a nice bunt-hit, and Max had trouble cutting that ball off in the gap, but overall we’ll take the win.”

Kepler made up for it in the bottom frame by driving in a run on an RBI single after Eduardo Escobar tripled to score two runners.

“For the most part, I think we’re seeing better play,” said Molitor. “He’s a young player that’s still … I think the game kind of gets big at times. But we’re seeing improvement, and I think we’re seeing his confidence grow.”

Kepler also had a sacrifice fly in the seventh, allowing Minnesota to take a 6-5 lead, and then made a highlight-reel catch in the eighth to help preserve it.

But the highlight of the night went to Buxton, who made catch while colliding with the right field wall.

“We made a couple nice plays,” said Molitor.

“Kepler kinda regrouped from the missed play to make a nice catch on the sinking liner. And then Buxton: That ball, they pitch-hit there, and we knew the guy had pop, and it didn’t sound real good off the bat, but last night and tonight the ball’s been carrying as well as it has all season here.”

That set up Fernando Abad to earn his first major league save by recording four straight outs, including one on the Buxton catch.

“Fernando, he got a save, first big league save,” said Molitor. “He’s pitched a lot of games, he’s pitched well, and he got a chance to get the last four outs, and he did it cleanly.”

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