Minnesota Twins J.J. Hardy hits a single in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Target Field during spring baseball action in Minneapolis Saturday, April 3, 2010. The Twins defeated the Cardinals 8-3.(AP Photo/Andy King) By Andy King
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia throws in the third inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field during baseball action in Minneapolis Saturday, April 3, 2010.(AP Photo/Andy King) By Andy King
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia throws in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field during baseball action in Minneapolis Saturday, April 3, 2010.(AP Photo/Andy King) By Andy King
Minnesota Twins' Jacque Jones hits a single in the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Target Field during a spring baseball game in Minneapolis Saturday, April 3, 2010. The Twins defeated the Cardinals 8-3. (AP Photo/Andy King) By Andy King
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Joe Mauer helped keep the early home run derby at Target Field going.
Mauer and Michael Cuddyer went deep for the Twins in an 8-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday that wrapped up spring training for both teams.
It's too early to tell how Minnesota's new ballpark will treat hitters and pitchers, but the warmup weekend drew plenty of raving reviews -- from customers, players and people in between -- ahead of the official opening on April 12.
"Just to be out here and look at this stadium and know we're going to get a chance to play here all year long, it sure makes it fun coming to the ballpark," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
David Freese homered for the Cardinals, who saw Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus hit back-to-back shots on Friday. Denard Span also went deep in the first game for the Twins, giving Target Field six home runs in two games.
The distances to the outfield walls are similar to the Metrodome, which didn't end up favoring either side too strongly after developing an early reputation as the "Homerdome."
The wind currents, though, will take awhile to figure out.
"I wish we knew," Gardenhire said. "You see the flags blowing one way, and then you stand up there and the wind is hitting you another way. It ought to be entertaining."
Said Freese: "You get the ball up in the air and the wind might push it one way or another, but I think it will be pretty fair."
For the second straight day, the weather was in full compliance for an outdoor game. It was on the cool side at 55 degrees, but blue sky and bright sun accompanied the paid crowd of 32,790 into the gates. An additional 7,000 complimentary tickets were distributed to construction workers and others who helped build the ballpark.
There were a few more Target Field firsts -- well, unofficial firsts, since this was still the exhibition season -- with the $184 million-man Mauer going deep into the spruce trees behind center field and the Twins taking batting and fielding practice on their new field for the first time.
"It felt good. It felt even better when it went over the fence," Mauer said. "You couldn't ask for a better day today."
Albert Pujols went 1 for 3 with a single against Twins starter Kevin Slowey, though the two outs were smashes to left field caught by Delmon Young.
Slowey, recovering from wrist surgery, pitched into the seventh and finished his spring 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA.
Jason LaRue started at catcher for the Cardinals, a late addition to the lineup after being cleared following batting practice. He has been bothered by a bruised left hand, but went 2 for 2 with an RBI.
Starter Yadier Molina, working his way back from a strained muscle on his right side, also took part in pre-game activities and said afterward he's feeling better.
Manager Tony La Russa said Molina would be re-evaluated on Sunday.
"He's been better and better. The fact that he swung today is a good sign," LaRussa said.
Left-hander Jaime Garcia, a top prospect who missed most of last season recovering from elbow surgery, gave up eight hits and four runs in 5 1-3 innings over 88 pitches. LaRussa recently named him the fifth starter.
"He wasn't sharp today," LaRussa said. "That's a good sign, because he didn't give up a whole lot."
Said Garcia: "I was a little too excited the first few innings and left the ball up a little bit, but that's part of the game."
Jacque Jones got another hearty, extended ovation from Twins fans, taking his helmet off in appreciation before his pinch hit in the seventh inning. He got another single in the eighth.
New Twins closer Jon Rauch gave up a walk and a double to start the ninth, but a long fly to right by Freese stayed in the park and Rauch escaped with only one run allowed.
NOTES: The Cardinals extended "heartfelt condolences" to the family of minor league pitcher P.J. Walters in an announcement of the death of his newborn daughter, Annabelle. She died on Friday night. Walters was optioned to Triple-A Memphis earlier this week. ... After unveiling a statue of Rod Carew on the pedestrian plaza behind the right field gate on Friday, the Twins honored another of their Hall of Famers, Harmon Killebrew, with his own bronze likeness depicting his home run swing. ... The Twins put reliever Clay Condrey on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow, after he pitched an inning in a minor league game. RHP Alex Burnett was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take his place on the 25-man roster.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)