Sigh. Cy Gibson strikes again. In a game that galloped along at a frenetic pace (total of 2:26--thanks philofthenorth), Cy Gibson shut down the Royals offense. The Royals scattered some hits and baserunners here and there, but they couldn't find the long ball to bring in the runners this time.
In the first inning, Edinson Volquez got himself into a little bit of trouble. After a single, a walk, and another single, the bases were loaded with no outs for Brian Dozier. This was a sticky situation, given that Dozier was one of the Twins' better hitters last year and has some power. With Lorenzo Cain closer to left-center field, Dozier hit a long fly ball to right-center field. Cain had a long run, but he made the catch. It was too deep to prevent a run, though. After a groundout to Volquez himself, Mike Moustakas made a great defensive play on a slow roller to get the final out of the inning. Volquez wasn't great, but his defense bailed him out. He allowed 1 run after the sticky situation.
The offense got baserunners on early in the game, but Cy Gibson induced some double plays to put a stop to any threats. However, Moustakas went OppoMoose twice and got hits both times. It's still early, but it would seem that the offseason he work put in to beating the shift has helped. In the 4th inning, after an OppoMoose, Kendrys Morales was hit by a pitch. The 13th of the season. It apparently hit his foot, so it likely wasn't intentional, but really? Anyway, Alex Gordon, with two runners on and the count 3-0, brought in Moose on a crisp line drive to right field to make the score 1-1.
It finally happened in the bottom of the 4th. After two outs, Oswaldo Arcia smacked a fat sinker over the right-center fence with Plouffe on board. The target from Salvador Perez was in, but Volquez missed and left the pitch out over the plate about belt high or so. Volquez has to have command with his sinker; it's too meaty. That was Volquez's first home run given up. 3-1 Minnesota.
Bottom of the 6th. Joe Mauer grounds out, first baseman Eric Hosmer to second baseman Omar Infante to pitcher Edinson Volquez. That's taken directly from MLB At Bat. Really, though, Hosmer dove and made contact with the ball to his glove side, but it rolled away from him to Infante, who threw it to Volquez at first for the out. Nothing really happened that inning, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
The Royals finally chased Cy Gibson in the 7th inning after hits by Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar. Escobar has hit safely in every game this season, so it appears he's taking the leadoff thing seriously in the early part of the year. Unfortunately, OppoMoose disappeared and a Wild PopupMoose appeared. Moustakas popped up (though it was to the third base side) to end the inning with no damage done. Cy Gibson finished with a line of 6.2 innings, nine hits (all singles), one run, no walks, and three strikeouts.
Volquez almost matched his output from his first start. Ned Yost gave him the hook in the 8th inning after Torii Hunter put a single up the middle. Volquez's final line was 7.2 innings, five hits, three runs, one walk, seven strikeouts, and one homer. That's pretty solid. He benefited from his defense, but Moose did have some misplays. An encouraging sign from Volquez was his changeup. He threw the pitch 35 times and got 12 whiffs, about a third of the total. That's a very excellent rate of whiffs for any pitch.
Franklin Morales replaced Volquez to face Mauer and got him to ground out. Unfortunately, the Royals couldn't manage anything against the bullpen that allowed a handful of runs on Monday. No walks. No HBP. No poor defense by the Twins. No late comeback.