Target Field the site of many firsts
History written in Minnesota as Twins open new ballpark
MINNEAPOLIS -- By opening Target Field on Monday afternoon, the Red Sox and Twins couldn't help but create a day full of firsts that will stay in the history book of Minnesota's new home ballpark, if not the memory banks.
The first hit in the grand opening came from the very first batter. Red Sox leadoff man Marco Scutaro belted the fourth pitch of the game from the Twins' Carl Pavano into center for a single.
Before the game, Scutaro had told a reporter he was going to open the game with a "knock." And now, he will forever be the answer at a trivia question: Who had the first hit at Target Field?
"Yeah, I guess. By tomorrow, nobody's going to remember that," said Scutaro.
In truth, it was the hometown Twins -- who beat the Red Sox, 5-2 -- that created most of the memories in their long-awaited debut at Target Field.
The first hit by a Twins player at Target Field came courtesy of Orlando Hudson, who produced a single to left in the bottom of the first.
"It's a great feeling," said Hudson. "Especially coming along with a great win. Getting a hit like that, at home with a packed house, on Opening Day, it was very special. It was special like last year when I got the cycle. It's a little different here. It's definitely great."
The first win? That was Carl Pavano, the righty starter who limited the Red Sox to four hits and one run over six innings.
This was far from just another start for Pavano, even if he tried to bill it as such before-hand.
"I was asked that question a lot and said it was business as usual," Pavano said. "But it's tough to keep it out of your mind -- the rich tradition in Minnesota and being able to be part of it last year and following this year into a new stadium. So I was definitely excited. We've been doing it from the beginning of the year, playing great baseball. So I had a good demeanor out there. I felt pretty good and these guys came through."
Of course, Pavano couldn't have become the first pitcher to win a game at Target Field without his closer -- righty Jon Rauch -- notching the first save.
"I have the first [win] in Nationals Park and it doesn't mean anything to me," said Rauch . "It doesn't do me any good now. For me, it's just being a part of this club and getting the opportunity to go out and pitch in those situations is a blessing for me. I'm fortunate to have that opportunity to do so."
In a classy gesture, Rauch gave the game ball to Joe Nathan, the star Twins closer who will miss the entire season following elbow surgery.
No grand opening would be complete without a home run, and Jason Kubel did the honors, roping a solo blast to right to open the seventh against Red Sox reliever Scott Atchison.
"I'll remember it for the rest of my life," Kubel said.
That says something when it comes from a man who, last year, belted a walk-off grand slam and hit a grand slam to complete the cycle.
"This one ranks right up there," said Kubel.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.