Detroit, MI – Prince Fielder's three-run home run led the Detroit Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins to open a three-game series on Monday.
Andy Dirks hit a solo home run and scored twice while Max Scherzer (3-0) gave up three runs on six hits with 10 strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings for the Tigers, who have won five of their last six.
Josh Willingham hit a solo home run while Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks each drove in a run for the Twins, who have lost four of six. Mike Pelfrey (2-3) gave up four runs on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout over 5 1/3 innings to drop his second straight start.
"He's one of the best pitchers in the league when he has good command of his stuff," said Hicks about Scherzer. "Tonight he had really good stuff and we just couldn't get much going."
Trailing by two runs in the sixth, the Tigers took the lead thanks to Fielder. After Dirks led off with a bunt single, Miguel Cabrera worked a walk and Fielder followed by crushing the first pitch he saw over the left-center wall for his sixth home run of the year and a 4-3 lead.
"Those two guys are very well respected in the league," said Detroit manager Jim Leyland about Cabrera and Fielder. "They're both liable to strike at any time and tonight Prince struck for us."
Scherzer struck out the side in the seventh then punched out Brian Dozier to start the eighth before making way for Drew Smyly, who quickly retired the next two batters.
Smyly then got the first two outs of the ninth before giving the ball to Joaquin Benoit, who induced a groundout by Trevor Plouffe to pick up his second save of the season.
Minnesota went on top in the first on a two-out solo shot from Willingham, and added a run in the second as a Hicks groundout plated Plouffe, who had singled and moved to third on a single and wild pitch.
Detroit got on the board in the third as Dirks hit his first home run of the year, a solo shot to right, but the Twins answered in the fourth on an RBI double from Arcia for a 3-1 lead.
Minnesota took two of three against Detroit at home to start the season ... Scherzer moved to 4-2 in 10 career starts against the Twins ... Pelfrey fell to 1-2 in three career starts versus Detroit.