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Associated Press
Detroit’s Alex Avila tries to break up a double play attempt by sliding into Minnesota’s Brian Dozier at second base in the fifth inning Monday in Detroit.

Tigers stay hot on Fielder’s HR

– 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.