MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - 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 Monday 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. "All around, a perfect day for everybody."
On the Twins side, at least.
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.
Jon Lester (0-1) struggled for the second straight start and labored through five innings for the Red Sox, throwing only 59 of his 107 pitches for strikes while giving up four runs on nine hits and three walks. He struck out five.
Kubel hit his home run into the right-field seats in the seventh inning to finish with three hits and two RBI. Mauer did the same.
Marco Scutaro, batting leadoff for Boston in place of Jacoby Ellsbury, who sat out with sore ribs, got the ballpark's first official hit, a single to center. He was picked off by Pavano.
The Red Sox were, unusually, a sideshow and not the main attraction. The Twins got their offense going right away, with Michael Cuddyer driving in Span for the first run and Kubel coming next with his own RBI single.