MINNEAPOLIS — Kyle Gibson and the rest of the Twins' rotation have Minnesota in contention at the All-Star break even with almost no contribution from free-agent prize Ervin Santana.
Gibson won his fourth straight start, throwing seven strong innings, and rookie Miguel Sano hit a two-run homer to lead the Twins to a 7-1 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
Gibson (8-6) allowed only an unearned run and four hits. Danny Santana added two hits, including a two-run triple, for Minnesota, which enters the All-Star break after winning six of seven on its homestand. The Twins are in second place in the AL Central and hold the top wild-card spot.
Gibson recalled that manager Paul Molitor held a team meeting before the start of the homestand and told his players, "I know we've got the break coming up. Let's not look past these seven games."
"And we didn't," Gibson said.
"I think that speaks a lot to this team," he added. "We focus on the day that we're in, and we focus on the game that we're playing. And that has a lot to do with our leadership, and I think that's a quality that's really going to help us moving forward."
Gibson has allowed two runs or fewer in 11 of his 18 starts, including the past five. The right-hander's ground-ball heavy approach worked against the Tigers, who hit into three double plays. Gibson leads the majors with 22 double-play ground balls this season, and his ERA shrunk to 2.85.
"I think he's confident he can do damage control for the most part when guys have good at-bats or he might walk a guy or two," Molitor said. "He's just very composed."
The only run against Gibson came in the second when catcher Eric Fryer made an error throwing to second base and Danny Santana had trouble getting the ball out of his glove on a likely double play. Fryer's miscue snapped Minnesota's 10-game errorless streak, the longest for the team since May 2013.
Shane Greene (4-7) allowed seven runs on seven hits and three walks in just 4 2-3 innings for the Tigers after being recalled from Triple-A.
Sano has hit safely in all but one of his 11 games this season and homered in the first inning off Greene for his second in the majors. Trevor Plouffe ended Greene's day with his 11th home run in the fifth.
"The balls that are getting hit are up in the zone," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said.
Greene — in his first season with Detroit — has allowed at least four runs in his last five major league starts. He was sent to Triple-A Toledo last month after losing four straight starts.
Ian Kinsler had three hits for Detroit (44-44), which enters the All-Star break with a .500 or worse record for the first time since 2008.
"Right now it's a good break, I guess, at the right time," Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez said.
MAY TO STAY
Molitor said the Twins are planning to keep RHP Trevor May in the bullpen instead of sending him to the minors to work as a starter. May (6-7, 4.26 ERA) has started 15 games but moved to the bullpen when Ervin Santana was activated from his 80-game suspension for a banned substance.
Tigers: Ausmus said OF Yoenis Cespedes left the game in the seventh inning because of an illness.
Twins: RHP Ricky Nolasco is still on schedule to undergo arthroscopic surgery Monday to alleviate a right ankle impingement. Assistant general manager Rob Antony said the team won't have a time frame on Nolasco's return until after the surgery, but the expectation is Nolasco is out for an extended period.
Tigers: Detroit returns from the All-Star break with RHP Anibal Sanchez (8-7) on the mound at home to face the Baltimore Orioles. Sanchez will be followed by David Price and Justin Verlander.
Twins: Minnesota will start the second half with Santana (0-0) at Oakland. Phil Hughes and Tommy Milone will follow.