Monday, April 29, 2013 10:08 pm
Fielder's homer lifts Tigers over Twins 4-3
By NOAH TRISTERAP Baseball Writer
Detroit trailed 3-1 when Andy Dirks reached on a bunt single and Miguel Cabrera walked. Fielder hit the first pitch over the wall in left-center for an opposite-field homer. That part of the fence is about 405 feet from home plate.
Max Scherzer (3-0) allowed three runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out 10 without a walk. Drew Smyly finished the eighth and got the first two outs of the ninth, and Joaquin Benoit finished for his second save.
Mike Pelfrey (2-3) allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Dirks also homered for the Tigers, and Josh Willingham went deep for Minnesota.
Pelfrey, who signed with the Twins in the offseason, entered the night with a 7.94 ERA, but for the first five innings he quieted a Detroit lineup that had just scored 25 runs in a three-game sweep of Atlanta.
Then in a blink, the lead was gone when Fielder connected for his sixth homer of the year.
The free-swinging Braves struck out 39 times in those three games against the Tigers, but Minnesota has done a good job making contact all season. The Twins entered the day with only 150 strikeouts, the second-fewest in baseball, and they pecked away early against Scherzer.
Willingham opened the scoring in the first with a solo shot, his fifth homer of the year. Two singles and a wild pitch put men on second and third in the second, and an RBI groundout by Aaron Hicks made it 2-0.
Dirks homered in the third, but the Twins answered immediately the next inning with Oswaldo Arcia's run-scoring double.
But Pelfrey couldn't hold the Tigers down for long enough, and once Detroit took the lead, the Twins didn't come close to scoring on Scherzer. He struck out the side in the seventh and fanned Brian Dozier to start the eighth before departing. Scherzer threw 114 pitches.
Smyly and Benoit finished. Closer Jose Valverde was given the night off after pitching the previous two days.
NOTES: A comebacker by Pedro Florimon appeared to hit Scherzer in the back in the second, but the Detroit right-hander was able to recover and make the play. ... Cabrera's hitting streak ended at 12 games. ... Detroit ace Justin Verlander (2-2) takes the mound Tuesday night against Minnesota's Vance Worley (0-3).