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Twins close spring training with loss

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FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- John Lackey walked his first batter in 20 innings this spring and gave up a run in the Boston Red Sox's 5-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.

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The Red Sox scored two runs in the eighth inning off Twins reliever Ron Mahay. Scott Schoenweis pitched a scoreless eighth for the Red Sox.

Lackey went five innings, giving up one run on six hits and a walk with two strikeouts.

"I thought he got on some fastballs," manager Terry Francona said. "I think like (Jon) Lester and (Josh) Beckett, he's ready for the season. I think he's raring to go. I think he was chomping at the bit a little bit today even."

Nick Blackburn, making his fifth appearance and third start, went five innings, giving up three runs and five hits with two strikeouts.

"Everything felt good today," Blackburn said. "My curveball and changeup was spotty today, but for the most part I had a good feeling. Throwing the right ones and how I wanted to throw them."

Marco Scutaro went 2 for 3 with two RBIs for the Red Sox.

The Twins left Fort Myers right after the game to fly home, where they will open their new park, Target Field, with exhibition games Friday and Saturday against the Cardinals.

"I think everybody's excited," Blackburn said. "It'll be good to be there. The Metrodome was good, but it's something new for us. I think we're all excited to get in there, get it checked out, and see how things are going to go."

FORT MYERS, Fla (AP) -- Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has named Nick Punto his starting third baseman for this season.

Punto won the over Brendan Harris because Gardenhire values Punto's defense more than the offense of Harris.

Punto hit .250 this spring and is coming off a season in which he hit only .228.

Harris had a great spring at the plate for the Twins, hitting .375 with a team-leading 12 RBIs.

Gardenhire says Harris will get plenty of at-bats early in the season because he's liked what he's seen from Harris this spring.

Gardenhire also says righthanded reliever Clay Condrey's shoulder is feeling better. He will pitch in a minor league game on Saturday and join the team for opening day against the Los Angeles Angels as the final piece of the Twins bullpen.

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