Rain, Red Sox fall on Twins 6-3

Published 8:40 am Thursday, April 15, 2010

The rain came down, the crowd cheered, and the Red Sox and Twins kept playing.

“Out-door base-ball,” some fans chanted Wednesday in the second game at Target Field.

John Lackey didn’t seem to mind getting wet, either.

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Lackey turned in a second strong start and Jeremy Hermida gave Boston room with a three-run double in the eighth inning, leading the Red Sox past Minnesota 6-3.

For the first time in 29 years, rain fell on the Twins at home.

“It held up pretty good. We didn’t slip or anything,” Twins center fielder Denard Span.

The crowd of 38,164, more than 1,000 below capacity, rediscovered baseball’s unique relationship with the weather. Temperature at first pitch was 73 degrees, but raindrops fell intermittently from the third through the eight innings.

Some fans scurried for the concourses and others hastily put up their umbrellas, but the first shower led to another celebration of Minnesota’s move out of the Metrodome to an open-air facility.

Lackey (1-0) lasted 6 2-3 innings for his first Red Sox victory, lifted early by Marco Scutaro’s two singles and Dustin Pedroia’s RBI double and solo home run. Scutaro batted leadoff again for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury, and Hermida filled in as the left fielder.

“Honestly, there was probably one inning there where it was kind of pretty slick,” Lackey said. “Once they fixed it, it was great the last two innings that I was out there.”

Twins starter Kevin Slowey (1-1) inched through five, giving up three runs and taking the loss after several discussions on the mound with Joe Mauer about pitch selection.

“He wanted to do something, and I wanted to do something else,” Mauer said. “We’re both in it to try to get outs. So go out there and talk about it and come up with a plan.”

After a sharp start last week in a win over the Los Angeles Angels, Slowey never found his footing — even literally in the fifth following Pedroia’s two-out shot.

Slowey gave up a single and a walk after the homer, prompting pitching coach Rick Anderson to the mound. He asked the umpires to check the mound, and the grounds crew guys hustled out for their first critical in-game task.

While they sprinkled fresh dirt on the front of the mound and behind the plate, Slowey spent a few minutes cleaning the mud out of his cleats. He got the last out of the inning, but his day was done with 98 pitches, five hits and four walks.

“I wish we had been able to smooth that out a little earlier, but a lot of that is on me really,” Slowey said. “It’s up to me to talk to Joe about what I want to do. He has to worry about all the pitchers on the staff.”