Kyle Gibson Tosses First Career Complete Game Shutout in Rangers' 1-0 Victory Over Astros
Kyle Gibson pitched a four-hit gem on Wednesday night, logging a complete game shutout in the Texas Rangers' 1-0 victory over their division rival Houston Astros.
"I thought a lot of the adjustments he talked about leading into the start, I was really anxious to see how this start was going to go," said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. "The mechanical stuff and the mentality of attacking the strike zone more. His last bullpen went really well. I was really intrigued. I wanted to see how this plays out."
Gibson took full advantage of home plate umpire Adam Hamari's wider strike zone, consistently hitting his spots on the outer half of the plate and around the knees.
"A lot of balls not hit hard, executing pitches, got some chase when the pitches were close to the strike zone and that all started with the ball over the plate with all of his stuff," Woodward said.
Wednesday night's game rolled along at a very quick tempo. Houston's Lance McCullers Jr. matched Gibson pitch for pitch, keeping the game scoreless. However, McCullers Jr. only pitched through the seventh inning, putting the game in the hands of the bullpen.
In the ninth inning, Leody Taveras' speed wreaked havoc on a hard hit grounder to first base that allowed him to reach safely. With two outs, Joey Gallo came through in the clutch with a ground-rule double that allowed Taveras to score from second base.
“For me, I just wanted to come through for the team," Gallo said. "Obviously with Gibby throwing so well that if we get one run, we have a chance to really win this game ... it's just about coming through for my team, and guys like Gibby who was pitching his ass off, giving him a win as well.”
After Gibson pitched through eight innings, he earned his manager's trust to take the ball in the ninth inning after reassuring him he was good to go. After Gibson allowed a two-out double to Alex Bregman, Woodward walked out to the mound to potentially take the ball from his starting pitcher.
"I did think I was getting taken out because you still want to win the game," Gibson explained. "I’d be lying if I thought Woody was coming out there just to say 'hello' and leave me in. There are only a few situations where I am going to take myself out of the game and that’s not one of them. I gave him a fist bump to the chest and he said 'go get ‘em.'"
Gibson's complete game shutout was not only the first of his career, it's the first 1-0 complete game shutout for the Rangers since Bobby Witt on August 26, 1990—also a four-hitter.
The Rangers and Astros will face off in a rubber match on Thursday evening. Jordan Lyles will take the ball for the Rangers and square off with Houston's Framber Valdez. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT.