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Mets’ Gee shuts down Twins

Associated Press New York Mets’ pitcher Dillon Gee throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning Monday in Minneapolis. Gee won his ninth game as the Mets beat the Twins 6-1.

MINNEAPOLIS — New York Mets pitcher Dillon Gee dominated Minnesota Twins hitters during their make-up game at Target Field on Monday afternoon.

He threw shutout ball for his first six innings of work and had nine strikeouts to lead the Mets to a 6-1 win.

“He’s been outstanding,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of Gee’s pitching since recovering from forearm tendinitis. “Ever since he got over the forearm thing, he’s been outstanding. He’s been the Dillon Gee we know. Just like today, changing speeds. Moving the ball up and down. Changing eye levels. This is what we have known him to be in the past, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you look up in the next six weeks and he’s going to have 14-15 wins.”

This was the fourth straight start in which Gee (9-8) went at least six innings and yielded two runs or fewer.

On Monday, Gee hit his spots, scattering six hits in 7 2/3 innings of work. He threw 99 pitches and walked one batter. The only run he gave up was unearned and came on a two-out error by Daniel Murphy.

“It helps that I have the help that I need. I had great catchers calling great games,” Gee said of his recent stretch of success. “And Juan (Lagares) tracks down everything out there in center field. It helps having that. Other than that, I’m throwing the ball probably the best I’ve ever been able to throw it.”

Twins starter Kyle Gibson had more difficulty, spotting the Mets an early 4-0 lead. The Mets had 14 hits in the game, and seven of their nine starters had two hits apiece.

“He was inconsistent again,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, after announcing that Gibson had been optioned to Triple-A Rochester. “(His) command was kind of going all over and a lot of hits given up. (He was) behind in the count an awful lot. He’s frustrated, and I think he knows what he needs to do to get better.”

Gibson labored through 72 pitches in 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on 10 hits and two walks while recording two strikeouts. Only some excellent defense kept it from being worse.

“It’s not a real mystery that I am struggling right now,” Gibson said. “I looked at the film and of the 72 pitches I threw, I hit my spot in 27 of them. So that’s not good enough. I have a lot of stuff I need to work on. That’s what I am going to do. The Twins gave me an opportunity and obviously I didn’t take advantage of it as I would’ve liked to, so I am going to go down and work on some stuff and try to be back up here as fast as possible.”

Gibson’s troubles started in the first inning with leadoff hits by Eric Young Jr. and Murphy. Gibson walked Ike Davis to load the bases, and Andrew Brown singled to right, scoring Young. A double play bailed out Gibson, who was fortunate to escape with no more damage.

In the second, Gibson gave up another run on three more hits, as Juan Lagares scored on Young’s single to left.

In the fourth, the Mets got a leadoff double by Wilmer Flores, a walk to Travis d’Arnaud and a bunt single by Lagares to load the bases. Omar Quintanilla singled to right to score Flores.

Gibson nearly dodged another bullet when Trevor Plouffe dove for a line shot by Young to third and doubled up d’Arnaud at third. But Murphy hit a single to center, scoring Lagares and ending Gibson’s afternoon.

Brian Duensing pitched three strong innings of middle relief, but the Mets tapped him for a run in the seventh.Marlon Byrd singled, Brown walked and Flores singled to right, scoring Byrd for 5-0 lead.

The Twins finally got on the board in the seventh when Brian Dozier doubled and then scored when Clete Thomas reached on an error.

Byrd got the run back in the ninth with his 20th homer of the season.

“Woo-wee,” Collins said of Byrd’s well-hit ball. “Number 20.That’s great for him.”

Notes: Monday’s game was a makeup from April 14, which was snowed out. ... The Twins have struck out 1,044 times this season, already ranking as the sixth highest total in team history. They average more than eight strikeouts per game and are on pace for a team record 1,374. ... Flores has 10 RBIs through his first 10 major league games, the second most by a Mets player (Jose Reyes had 11 in his first 10 games). Flores reached 11 RBIs in his 11th game. ... After going 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position on Aug. 18, the Twins are now batting .231 (250-for-1,080) with RISP on the season. The Twins went 0-for-11 with RISP against the Mets on Aug. 19.