Mets' bats wake up in makeup to back Gee
Offense steady against Gibson, Twins' bullpen as righty cruises
By Kelly Erickson / 8/19/2013 7:14 PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- There was one way the visitors' clubhouse found itself describing Dillon Gee's outing Monday at Target Field and it was simply put: He was "outstanding."
The Mets capped off their 11-game road trip on a positive note, rolling past the Twins, 6-1, as Gee excelled on the mound. The right-hander pitched 7 2/3 innings and relinquished just one unearned run on six hits and a walk.
"He had all his pitches," catcher Travis d'Arnaud said. "He was staying aggressive. His curveball was there, his slider was there, every single pitch. He's locating his fastball. And he did an outstanding job."
Gee had never pitched against the Twins previously, which allowed him to mix his pitches more effectively while elevating his fastball, fanning nine.
"It just changes the look of things," Mets skipper Terry Collins said. "The changeup and the curveball are down in the zone. The fastball, he's got some sink to it. And when he goes to that four-seamer, it's tough to lay off. ... He gets a lot of strikeouts, that guy."
The outing marked Gee's 12th quality start in his last 15 games. He's gone 7-2 over that span. While he also credits his defense, Gee feels it's been the best stretch of his career.
"It helps to have the help that I've had," Gee said. "I've had great catchers calling great games. Juan [Lagares] just tracks down everything out there in center field. It helps having that. Other than that, I'm throwing the ball the best that I've probably ever thrown it."
While Gee was solid on the mound, the Mets were equally strong at the plate. In the makeup game from April 14, New York opened up for 14 hits against the Twins -- while limiting them to seven -- and picked away at Minnesota's pitching staff from the get-go.
The second inning proved the difference, as the Mets used three straight singles to make it 2-0. Lagares scored on an Eric Young Jr. RBI knock into left after he reached on a grounder to third earlier in the inning.
Two innings later, the Mets commanded a 4-0 lead when Twins starter Kyle Gibson put four straight on base between three hits and a walk to start off the fourth. Wilmer Flores led off with a double, and after d'Arnaud took a walk, he moved to third on a Lagares base hit. With the bases loaded and no outs, Omar Quintanilla hit an RBI single up the middle, driving in Flores for a 3-0 lead.
Trevor Plouffe gave Gibson some help as he caught Young's ensuing line drive and tagged third before d'Arnaud could get back, earning a double play. But Gibson gave up his fourth hit of the inning to Daniel Murphy on an RBI line drive to right-center, scoring Lagares for a 4-0 lead.
After the additional hit and run, Gibson was pulled after 3 2/3 innings. He gave up four runs on 10 hits and two walks in his brief outing, picking up two strikeouts.
"Gibby was inconsistent again," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "His command -- balls were flying all over. He gave up a lot of hits. He fell behind in the count an awful lot. He's frustrated but I think he knows what he needs to do to improve. His stuff is good and his sinker moves but his command isn't there yet."
The Mets gave Gee a 1-0 cushion to start the game as Young and Murphy led off with back-to-back base hits. Two batters later, Ike Davis loaded the bases with a walk. Andrew Brown followed with an RBI line drive to right, scoring Young for the 1-0 lead.
The Mets added another run in the seventh, when Flores sent an RBI grounder into right field, scoring Marlon Byrd, who reached on a base hit of his own.
Leading 5-0, the Mets allowed the Twins their lone run in the seventh. With two outs, Plouffe hit a double to right-center and scored a batter later as Clete Thomas reached on a Murphy fielding error at second.
Byrd smacked a solo shot in the ninth inning on the first pitch he saw from Jared Burton, his career-high-matching 20th homer punctuating the Mets' scoring.
"The offense did nothing today," Gardenhire said. "Their kid threw the ball good. ... But again, we missed opportunities with runners on and it seems like that's the ongoing theme."