MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Control of his knuckleball was elusive for the Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey.
Toronto wasn't much better in trying to hit against Kyle Gibson.
Unfazed by the subfreezing temperature at first pitch, Gibson threw a career-high eight scoreless innings for the Minnesota Twins in a 7-0 victory over the Blue Jays on Thursday that opened a day-night doubleheader.
Gibson (3-0) took the mound for the coldest start for an outdoor game in Twins history, 31 degrees, and breezed through a Blue Jays lineup that totaled 20 runs in the previous two games. He walked one, struck out four and scattered four singles.
Dickey (1-3) didn't come close to that kind of success.
"I'm traditionally a slow starter so hopefully I can get on track next time. The conditions weren't a big deal for me today. It wasn't ideal, but it wasn't something where I was coming in trying to soak my fingers in warm water to keep them warm. I just didn't execute when I needed to make a big pitch, and they put good swings on it," Dickey said.
Josmil Pinto highlighted a five-run fifth with a two-run double, missing a grand slam by a few inches, as the Twins batted around and Dickey didn't finish the inning. Trevor Plouffe also had two RBIs.
Needing 112 pitches to get 13 outs, Dickey saw ERA rose to 6.26 after he allowed seven hits, five walks and five runs while striking out four. In 23 innings this year, he has given up 15 walks. The knuckleball can be just as maddening for the man throwing it as for the guys trying to hit it.
"It's been moving an awful lot, more so than I've seen in the past even, so I think that's a contributing factor to the walks," catcher Josh Thole said.
Dickey was frustrated at times with the strike zone of plate umpire Chris Guccione, providing unsolicited feedback as he left for the dugout after the fourth inning, but his trouble transcended that.
"I thought I got squeezed a couple of pitches, but outside of that it was one of those days where you weren't putting the whole game together," he said.
His spot in the rotation, however, is not in trouble.
"He ain't going anywhere, I can tell you that. He's been fine," manager John Gibbons said.
Despite this dud, Dickey has pitched six-plus innings in two of his four starts.
"He's given me every opportunity. As the season progresses, I'll make those decisions pay off for him," Dickey said.
After wintry weather forced postponement of Wednesday's game, workers scrambled all morning to melt snow and ice from the seating areas, and the grounds crew dried the warning track. The Twins even sent out a company-wide memo asking for help. Slush still sat along the edges of the plaza behind right field, and the highest seating level was closed off because it wasn't cleared in time, giving those customers an unexpected upgrade.
The announced paid attendance was 20,507, but the actual number of people present was probably half of that at most. The previous lowest first-pitch temperature the Twins played in was 32 degrees on May 2, 1967, at Metropolitan Stadium. Their home was the covered, climate-controlled Metrodome from 1982-09.
Gibson had a rough rookie year, but the former first-round amateur draft pick has been the early stalwart of a rotation that has otherwise struggled. He lowered his ERA to 0.93 in helping the Twins beat the Blue Jays for just the fifth time in their last 22 meetings.
Jason Kubel, Kurt Suzuki and Chris Colabello also drove in runs for the Twins, who were able to cruise through the afternoon and get warmed up for the nightcap after the gem by their 25-year-old right-hander lasted only 2 hours, 38 minutes.
"His fastball was sneaky and jumping on you pretty good. He did a heck of a job," Gibbons said.
NOTES: Dickey is 1-3 with a 6.58 ERA in six career starts against the Twins. ... For the first time in 15 games this season, Blue Jays LF Melky Cabrera failed to get a hit.