For the first time in 29 years, rain falls at Twins home game

Associatedpress and Associatedpress

MINNEAPOLIS — Rain fell on the Minnesota Twins at home for the first time in 29 years and John Lackey dampened their bats.

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 to a 6-3 win Wednesday in the second game at Target Field.

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.

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 started to fall in the third and sprinkled the sparkling new ballpark intermittently over the next four innings.

Some fans went scurrying for the concourses and others hastily put up their umbrellas, but the rain brought a cheer and a few chants of “out-door base-ball” in another sign of the celebration of Minnesota’s move out of the Metrodome to an open-air facility.

Twins starter Kevin Slowey (1-1) inched through five, giving up three runs and taking the loss.

Hermida’s bases-clearing hit gave the Red Sox a 6-2 lead, but the Twins had chances to come back.

The sun came out when Joe Mauer came to the plate in the seventh, but he was intentionally walked to load the bases after a passed ball with two outs. Justin Morneau hit a weak popup near the mound to end that threat.

Michael Cuddyer’s homer and Delmon Young’s double got the eighth off to a strong start, but Daniel Bard finished the inning without more damage and Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for his third save. He got Cuddyer on a long fly to end the game with two on.

With Jacoby Ellsbury likely out for the series while his bruised ribs heal, Scutaro is the replacement leadoff hitter. He got the Red Sox going right away with sharp singles in each of the first two innings, scoring on Pedroia’s double in the first and driving in J.D. Drew in the second. Minnesota tied it in the third, but Pedroia gave Boston the lead back with his homer to left.

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.

Lackey looked like he had a little weather trouble for a bit, too, shaking his hand a few times in the bottom of the third when the rain really started to fall.

He walked Denard Span on four pitches and gave up consecutive RBI singles to Orlando Hudson and Mauer, but retired Morneau on a long fly to center and settled in after that.