Twins closer Joe Nathan watched his final pitch Wednesday get hit to Tsuyoshi Nishioka. The shortstop threw to first baseman Michael Cuddyer to wrap up a 5-2 victory over Boston, and Nathan pumped a fist, then clasped his hands over his mouth.

It took a long time -- seven-plus seasons and one threatening elbow injury -- for Nathan to get to that point. But he made it. The 255th save of his Twins career put him alone atop the franchise leaders, breaking the tie he shared with Rick Aguilera since July 26.

"With the surgery and the bumps in the road, it made it mean even more for me to be able to come back and accomplish this," said Nathan, who missed all of last season because of Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery and lost the role as closer earlier this season before replacing Matt Capps shortly after the All-Star break.

Cuddyer was the first of many players to hug Nathan as the Twins lined up for the post-victory handshake. The accomplishment was acknowledged on the videoboard, leading to loud applause from many among the announced crowd of 40,491.

"Getting number 255, it's an honor for me to pass such a great pitcher in Aggie," Nathan said. "A great human being. Getting a chance to get to know him in person, to be able to take over his record, means a lot to me.

"To be able to stick around this organization is a pretty good thing."

It also finished off a scrappy performance by the Twins, who avoided a winless homestand (1-5) and ended their six-game losing streak. They began the homestand by looking flat against the White Sox for three games but played better against the Red Sox. They didn't have anything to show for it before Wednesday night.