Gibson goes distance as Twins top Braves

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[August 18, 2016]  ATLANTA -- Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson took a big step toward reversing his August troubles on Wednesday.

Gibson threw his first career nine-inning complete game, lifting the Twins to a 10-3 win over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday at Turner Field.

"That's a pretty good milestone," Gibson said. "For me, I'm trying to keep developing into the guy I want to be and you've got to go deep in the game when the team gets you a lead like that."

Gibson (5-7) allowed three runs on eight hits -- two in the ninth inning when game was essentially decided. He walked three and struck out six. The right-hander, who entered the game with a 7.98 ERA in three August starts, benefited from two double plays.

Gibson retired 10 consecutive batters until Nick Markakis opened the ninth with his eighth homer. He threw a season-high 115 pitches.

"The inning where he induced the double play was big," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "He was having trouble with command early and he started to throw more strikes as the game went on."

Making his first career start against Atlanta, Gibson gave the Twins a sweep of the two-game series. Atlanta lost for the fourth straight game.

The two teams, who have the worst record in each league, split four games this season -- each winning two on the other's home field.

Trevor Plouffe and Jorge Polanco had three hits apiece for Minnesota, and Plouffe knocked in three runs. Brian Dozier, Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario each added two hits.

"It was good to see a lot of guys have good offensive nights," Molitor said.

The Twins won the game against the Atlanta bullpen, which melted down for the second night in a row. Atlanta used six relievers for 3 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on Tuesday. The Braves used five for four innings and allowed eight runs on Wednesday.

"We used the bullpen a lot last night," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.

It started in the sixth inning when southpaw Eric O'Flaherty (1-4) allowed back-to-back doubles to Rosario and Juan Centeno, a pair of left-handed hitters, to snap a 2-2 tie.

The Twins put it away with three runs in the seventh on an RBI single from Rosario, a run-scoring fielder's choice by Centeno and a bloop RBI single from Robbie Grossman.

Minnesota added four runs against Jason Hursh in the ninth on a bases-loaded, two-run singles from Dozier and Plouffe.

The loss ruined the debut of Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson, the No. 1 overall draft pick from 2014. Swanson swatted an opposite-field single in his second at-bat and finished 2-for-4.

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Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (44) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

"It was a good night for me," Swanson said. "It was nice to get over with and move forward."

The Twins jumped on Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz for two runs in the first inning. Kepler singled home Dozier, who led off the game with a double, and Kepler scored on Plouffe's double.

Those were the only runs scored off Foltynewicz. He received no decision after throwing 100 pitches over five innings, allowing five hits and three walks, with seven strikeouts.

"I got out of some big innings," Foltynewicz said. "The score could have really been out of control early."

The Braves evened the score in the third inning when Freddie Freeman hit his 24th home run, an opposite-field, two-run shot that just cleared the fence in left. The homer marked a career high for Freeman, who hit 23 in two previous seasons.

NOTES: Atlanta recalled SS Dansby Swanson, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft, on Wednesday and batted him eighth in the lineup. To make room on the 40-man roster, the club designated INF/OF Mike Aviles for assignment. Aviles was acquired, along with minor league C Kade Scivicque, from Detroit on Tuesday in exchange for SS Erick Aybar. Aviles never reported to the team. Atlanta activated C Tyler Flowers (broken left hand) and placed C A.J. Pierzynski on the 15-day disabled list due to a left hamstring strain. ... Atlanta begins a four-game series against Washington on Thursday at Turner Field. RHP Rob Whalen (1-1, 7.31 ERA) will oppose Nationals RHP Reynaldo Lopez (1-1, 5.74) in the opener. ... Minnesota opens a four-game series at Kansas City on Thursday. RHP Tyler Duffey (8-8, 5.71) will oppose Kansas City RHP Dillon Gee (4-6, 4.78).

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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