Final in 10

Red Sox 5

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Twins 3

(0-1, 0-1 home)

    7:05 PM ET, March 4, 2004

    Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers, Florida 

    R H E
    BOS - -
    MIN - -

    Boston 5, Minnesota 3

    FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- Derek Lowe pitched two perfect innings for Boston in a 5-3 victory over Minnesota that made Terry Francona's spring debut as Red Sox manager a successful one.

    Francona, who managed the Philadelphia Phillies from 1997 through 2000, is succeeding Grady Little on the Red Sox bench.

    Lowe threw 13 of his 17 pitches for strikes in a sign of progress toward a better start to this season than the one before.

    In 2003, Lowe missed a month of offseason workouts because of a procedure to remove cancerous tissue from his nose, struggled in spring training and had a 6.53 ERA in his first eight regular-season starts.

    "I feel I've given myself a better opportunity, especially in the beginning of the season, to help this team win," Lowe said.

    An error by Twins third baseman Michael Cuddyer and a two-out, bases-loaded infield single by Jeremy Owens gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead off Kevin Tolar in the eighth. Boston's Andy Dominique homered, and Colter Bean got the victory.

    Luis Rivas hit a two-run double in the third inning and Gabby Torres homered in the seventh for two-time defending AL Central champion Minnesota.

    Twins starter Kyle Lohse, a 14-game winner last season whose contract was renewed Thursday, pitched two scoreless innings. Lohse's contract was renewed after he and the team failed to agree on a one-year deal.

    Brian Daubach hit an RBI double and Cesar Crespo followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game in the fifth off Joe Nathan, who signed a two-year contract with the Twins Thursday. Nathan is the top candidate to replace Eddie Guardado as Minnesota's closer.

    Rookie catcher Joe Mauer, the 20-year-old who was picked first by the Twins in the 2001 draft, walked in the third, took third on Cristian Guzman's double and scored on the double by Rivas.

    Mauer grounded into a bases-loaded, inning-ending double play in the fourth.

    "I don't think I'm ready to start the season, especially at the plate," Mauer said. "Defensively, I'd say let's go. But I've got to see more pitching. ... I'm not comfortable there yet."

    Hammond Stadium, Minnesota's spring home since 1991, was sold out for the first of five meetings between these Grapefruit League rivals -- who both train in Fort Myers. Allegiances were split, and one loud Twins fan taunted the Red Sox rooters near him by chanting "Let's go Yankees!" and "Alex Rodriguez!"

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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