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Wings' Gibson extends shutout streak
Twins prospect limits Knights to two hits over eight innings
05/25/2013 7:57 PM ET
Kyle Gibson ranks ninth in the International League with a 2.82 ERA.
Kyle Gibson ranks ninth in the International League with a 2.82 ERA. (Joe Territo/Rochester Red Wings)

Kyle Gibson is focused on the future, but his past has a way of coloring what he's doing in the present. He hopes that more outings like the one he produced Saturday night will reduce that problem to another fading memory.

The Twins' No. 4 prospect gave up two hits over eight scoreless innings as Triple-A Rochester defeated Charlotte, 4-1, at Frontier Field.

Gibson (4-5) struck out seven batters and walked three in extending his scoreless streak to 18 innings.

The 2009 first-round pick received the Jim Rantz Award as the Twins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010 but underwent Tommy John surgery in September 2011.

Since then, MLB.com's No. 45 overall prospect has had to deal with repeated questions about his arm. First, it was the injury. Next came the surgery. Then it was the rehab.

"As well as the fans know the game and with what [journalists] write about me, I'm trying not to focus on that too much," said Gibson, who threw 68 of 111 pitches for strikes. "Whether fans doubt me or write things about me, I don't let it affect me too much because I know what I'm capable off. If I work hard ... I'm not too worried about it.

"I wouldn't say I'm surprising myself. I've just had a pretty good plan in three of the past four starts and I executed the plan. I'm just figuring out how to focus on advanced scouting reports."

Gibson gave up an infield single to Jordan Danks in the second inning and a leadoff double to Blake Tekotte in the sixth. He set down his final eight batters before turning over a 4-0 lead to the bullpen.

"The single up the middle, I excecuted the pitch I wanted. I got in on Danks and it broke his bat and it looped over my head," the 25-year-old right-hander said. "Tekotte's hit was on the first pitch. I throw a get-me-over changeup and he hooked it down the line, like he was supposed to."

The outing lowered Gibson's ERA to 2.82 and means he hasn't given up a run in four of his last six outings. Over his last four starts, he's thrown two complete-game shutouts and struck out 26 batters over 28 innings.

"I didn't have my best stuff and I didn't feel 100 percent," the University of Missouri product said. "My health was fine, but I just had one of those days when I didn't feel my best. My fastball command was there and then it would go away, but my changeup and slider were good enough to get through the innings.

"I can't even tell you how many times I felt good in the bullpen, but then when I got on the mound, whether it was the coldness or a huge offensive inning before, it's thrown me off."

Gibson and the Red Wings got three hits and a run scored from Jeff Clement, while Eric Farris went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs out of the ninth spot in the lineup.

Charlotte starter Andre Rienzo (3-3) -- the White Sox No. 9 prospect -- allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five over four innings.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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