BOSTON — If the Minnesota Twins intend to leave Boston with a split of their four-game series against the Red Sox on Thursday, Kyle Gibson will need to have his best stuff on the mound.
That hasn’t been a problem for the veteran right-hander in the past against the Red Sox, especially at Fenway Park.
Gibson (4-5, 6.23 ERA) is 1-0 with a microscopic 0.60 ERA in two career starts at the ballpark, going 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA in three total starts against the Red Sox.
“It’s a fun place to pitch. The fans are always really into the game,” Gibson said. “It’s just really cool to be in those competitive games in this type of … playoff atmosphere.”
Minnesota (40-36) recovered from back-to-back losses against Boston (43-35) with a 4-1 win Wednesday, riding Max Kepler’s three-RBI night and 5 2/3 scoreless frames from Adalberto Mejia.
The Twins had been outscored 13-3 in losing the first two games of the series.
David Price (2-2, 4.76) will take the ball for the Red Sox after allowing three runs (two earned) in a six-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels in his outing last Saturday.
Price is 9-3 with a 2.43 ERA in 16 career games (15 starts) against the Twins. He has won his last five decisions against the team, posting a 1.84 ERA in six starts.
Minnesota’s Brian Dozier (6-for-33, two home runs, five RBIs) and Joe Mauer (6-for-34, two RBIs) have both had prior success against Price.
Meanwhile, Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. (1-for-7) has a three-run homer off Gibson. Mookie Betts (2-for-5) also has a solo blast against the pitcher and Xander Bogaerts is 3-for-9 with an RBI.
Gibson is used to facing pitchers of Price’s ilk, as he squared off against Indians ace Corey Kluber on Sunday and allowed a run on four hits in a 4 2/3-inning no-decision.
Boston could receive a boost in the form of a returning Hanley Ramirez, who missed his third straight game Wednesday after being by a pitch on his left knee Sunday.
Ramirez finished Sunday’s game but has not played since, although he got in a full work day Wednesday and manager John Farrell said the designated hitter is “feeling improved.”
Farrell sounded optimistic about the prospect of a return in short order, although Ramirez may have other ideas, telling MLB.com he will be “ready” for the second half of the season.
“We know he’s dealing with some physical ailments that you manage and work through, and he’s doing what he can to get back to that level of performance (last year),” Farrell said.
Ramirez, batting .241 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs through 63 games, was a major force in the lineup last season, hitting .286 with 30 homers and a career-high 111 RBIs.
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