DETROIT – Prince Fielder put Detroit ahead with a three-run homer, and as if on cue, Max Scherzer settled into a groove.
That’s been the formula for these Tigers – starting pitching and power.
Fielder’s towering drive in the sixth inning lifted Detroit to its fourth straight victory Monday night, 4-3 over Minnesota.
The Twins led 3-1 before the slugging first baseman’s homer, and Scherzer struck out the last four men he faced in the seventh and eighth to help preserve the win.
I was able to pitch ahead in the count, and I thought my fastball-changeup combination really allowed me to get those extra strikeouts at the end, Scherzer said.
To keep them from doing any more damage when we got the lead – I thought my two-strike changeup was the pitch that allowed me to get a few extra strikeouts. That’s my pitch.
Andy Dirks started the go-ahead rally with 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.
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.
ASTROS 9, YANKEES 1: In New York, Carlos Corporan homered among his four hits and drove in four runs, Brandon Barnes three hits and three RBI, and Houston fit comfortably into the role of a slugging American League squad.
INDIANS 9, ROYALS 0: In Kansas City, Mo., Ubaldo Jimenez pitched into the eighth inning, Ryan Raburn hit two home runs and Cleveland split its four-game series with Kansas City. Raburn hit a three-run shot in the fifth inning and a solo homer in the eighth and finished with four hits. Jason Kipnis also homered for the Indians.