Kyle Gibson looked like Cy Young for seven innings against the hapless Kansas City Royals offense. However, the Royals rallied late, bringing the go ahead run to the plate before succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Twins.
As dominant as Gibson was for the Twins, James Shields was equally shaky for the Royals, struggling against what appeared to be a tight strike zone for much of the night. After escaping a two on, two out jam in the first, Shields had a runner on third with no outs in the second. He managed to keep the Twins off the board, aided by an excellent play from Lorenzo Cain in center to keep the runner at third on a fly out.
Minnesota broke through in the third inning. Danny Santana led off the inning with a bunt single, and moved to second on a failed pickoff attempt by James Shields. After a groundout moved Santana over to third, Josh Willingham hit a sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.
Santana struck once again for the Twins in the fifth. With one out, he doubled down the right field line, just out of the reach of Eric Hosmer. A base hit put runners at the corners, and Brian Dozier followed with an RBI single. After Shields hit Josh Willingham on a 2-2 count to load the bases, it appeared as though the Twins were poised to open the floddgates. Instead, Shields got Chris Parmelee to ground into an inning ending double play, ending the threat.
Those would be all the runs that Kyle Gibson would need. He cruised through the Royals lineup, allowing only two hits and two walks in his seven shutout innings. Keeping the Royals off balance with his slider, the Royals were unable to make solid contact, and were unable to get a runner past second base. It seemed like just another day for the Royals punchless offense.
The slumbering Royals bats came alive in the bottom of the ninth against Minnesota closer Glen Perkins. Omar Infante led off with a double to left, and scored on a base hit by Eric Hosmer to cut the Twins lead to 2-1. After Salvador Perez hit a ringing line drive to left for the first out of the inning, Perkins went away from his fastball, using his slider almost exclusively to the Royals batters. That change in approach worked, as he managed to stem the tide and send the Royals to a 2-1 loss.
James Shields took the defeat, allowing two runs, one earned, on six hits and four walks, striking out five over six innings of work. He labored to get through the six, as Shields through 124 pitches in the outing.