Twins on Target in home opener
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins have finally moved into their own place.
They held the housewarming party outdoors.
After 28 seasons inside the dingy Metrodome, the Twins broke in Target Field by beating the Boston Red Sox, 5-2, yesterday behind hometown star Joe Mauer in the first regular-season game at their new ballpark.
Jason Kubel hit the first home run — "I'll remember for the rest of my life," he said — and Carl Pavano earned the first victory.
"I've been waiting a long time," said Mauer, who grew up less than 10 miles away in St. Paul. "It's definitely a special place, and I'm glad it's here."
Red-white-and-blue bunting hung from the ledges and commissioner Bud Selig was in attendance for the celebration, which started hours before the crowd of 39,715 snapped cell-phone pictures of the first pitch by Pavano.
The unpredictable spring weather played right along, too, with a blue, breezy 65-degree afternoon.
"It was colder in spring training than here today," said center fielder Denard Span, a Florida native who acknowledged concern about the early-season conditions here.
Pavano (2-0) gave up four hits and one run in six innings and the Twins bullpen backed him up, with Jon Rauch recording his fifth save in as many attempts.
Kubel hit his home run into the right-field seats in the seventh inning to finish with three hits and two RBIs. Mauer did the same.
Twins baseball started in suburbia in 1961 at Metropolitan Stadium and moved downtown to the Metrodome in 1982, sharing both facilities with the Vikings football team.
Athletics 4, Mariners 0: Justin Duchscherer was terrific in his second start in 20 months, pitching into the eighth inning to help visiting Oakland beat Seattle. Duchscherer allowed two hits and walked two in 7 1/3 innings. The right-hander, a two-time All-Star, missed last season because of an elbow injury and was later treated for clinical depression.
White Sox 8, Blue Jays 7: Mark Teahen tripled home the go-ahead run in the 11th inning and visiting Chicago snapped Toronto's five-game winning streak. Mark Kotsay led off the 11th with a pinch-hit single off Jeremy Accardo (0-1) and was replaced by pinch runner Omar Vizquel. Teahen followed with a triple to right-center.
Royals 10, Tigers 5: Jose Guillen hit a two-run homer after his two-out foul popup was dropped by Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera as visiting Kansas City ended Detroit's four-game winning streak. Guillen took advantage of Cabrera's error for a go-ahead homer in the fourth inning, which made it 4-2.
Rays 5, Orioles 1: Matt Garza allowed one run in eight innings and Carl Crawford went 4 for 4 with a homer for visiting Tampa Bay. Garza gave up six hits in beating the Orioles for the second time this season. The right-hander is 8-1 lifetime against Baltimore.
Rangers 4, Indians 2: Nelson Cruz hit his fifth home run of the season, connecting in the 10th inning as Texas spoiled Cleveland's sold-out home opener. Cruz's two-run drive came with one out against Jamey Wright. Cruz leads the AL in home runs.
Padres 17, Braves 2: Will Venable's two-run homer highlighted a 10-run fourth inning and Kyle Blanks homered, doubled and drove in a career-high five runs for host San Diego. The Padres hit and scored as if they were playing in a bandbox rather than spacious Petco Park. Their 17 runs, on 19 hits, were the most by any team at the downtown ballpark since it opened in 2004.
Cardinals 5, Astros 0: Albert Pujols homered and drove in four runs, and Adam Wainwright pitched eight innings as host St. Louis dropped Houston to 0-7. New Cardinals batting coach Mark McGwire drew one of the biggest cheers during the pregame introductions before his first home game since retiring after the 2001 season.
Phillies 7, Nationals 4: Placido Polanco hit a go-ahead single, Chase Utley had a two-run homer and host Philadelphia beat Washington. The two-time defending NL champions are off to a 6-1 start, their best since opening the 1993 pennant-winning season 7-1.
Cubs 9, Brewers 5: Xavier Nady, Jeff Baker and Aramis Ramirez homered as host Chicago beat Milwaukee. Ryan Dempster allowed five runs in 6 1/3 innings, but ran his career record against the Brewers to 12-3.
Reds 6, Marlins 5: Scott Rolen homered twice and drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning, helping visiting Cincinnati beat Florida. Rolen hit solo drives in the second and fourth, and has three homers after hitting 11 last year.
Giants 9, Pirates 3: Bengie Molina went 4 for 4 with four RBIs to help Barry Zito and host San Francisco beat Pittsburgh. Zito pitched six-plus innings, yielding three runs and five hits.