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Gibson leads Twins into opener with Rays

(SportsNetwork,com) - Kyle Gibson will try to secure his fourth victory in as many starts this season on Tuesday night when the Minnesota Twins play the first of three straight against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The 26-year-old Gibson is off to a fantastic start, opening 3-0 while giving up just two runs and 12 hits over 19 1/3 innings for a 0.93 earned run average.

Gibson was even able to correct his one concerning issue last time out. He had walked eight batters through his first two outings, but yielded just one free pass in Thursday's 7-0 win over Toronto. The righty hurled eight innings of four-hit ball, striking out four.

Gibson got his first taste of big league action last year with 10 starts, his third career outing coming on the road versus Tampa Bay on July 9. He took a loss, charged with four runs on four hits and four walks over six innings.

Minnesota managed to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals by winning Sunday's finale 8-3. Trevor Plouffe had three hits, all for extra bases, and drove in two runs to key the offense.

"It feels good just to produce no matter where you hit it. My job is to drive in runs and using the whole field is part of that. You're not always going to get a pitch to drive to left so you've got to be able to use the whole field," said Plouffe, who has reached base in 16 of his 18 games this season.

Kurt Suzuki drove in a pair of runs and Chris Colabello, Jason Kubel and Eduardo Escobar picked up an RBI apiece for the Twins, who have won six of nine.

Minnesota will try to defeat Tampa Bay starter David Price tonight and the lefty is coming off a tough outing last Thursday against the New York Yankees.

Price gave up six runs on 10 hits, two homers and a walk over just five innings of work, falling to 2-1 on the year with a 4.39 ERA through four outings.

The 28-year-old is 2-2 lifetime versus the Twins with a 2.66 ERA.

Price's loss came in the opener of a four-game set with the Yankees, and the Rays outscored New York 27-6 in taking the next two meetings before losing Sunday's finale 5-1 in 12 innings.

New York scored the first of four runs in the 12th frame when Dean Anna drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs off C.J. Riefenhauser, a call that brought Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon out to argue.

After the game, Maddon complained there are too many ways to interpret the rule regarding checked swings.

"It's one of the most ill-defined, inconsistent rules in baseball," he said. "I'm not blaming the umpires."

The Rays will try to rebound against a team they have had a ton of success against the previous two meetings.

Tampa Bay won the final five of six meetings with Minnesota in 2012, then won the first six encounters a season ago before the Twins notched a home victory on Sept. 15.

The Rays have won six in a row at home versus the Twins.

04/22 10:44:20 ET