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Associated Press, Published April 29 2013

Fielder's homer powers Tigers past Twins

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 Zc 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 Zc 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.

“It’s better than what I’ve done before tonight, but it wasn’t good enough,” Pelfrey said. “I made a horrible pitch and Prince made me pay for it. I was looking for a groundball after I walked Cabrera, and I left a sinker high and in the middle of the plate. He’s pretty strong, and he drove it, so I turned around and just hoped it might hit the fence.”

The previous night it was Cabrera who hit a three-run homer to break the game open against Atlanta. This time it was Fielder.

“Those two guys, they’re well-respected in the league,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “Both liable to strike at any time, and Prince struck at the right time for us.”

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.

Minnesota Detroit

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Dozier 2b 4 0 0 0 AJcksn cf 4 0 1 0

Mauer c 4 0 0 0 Dirks lf 3 2 2 1

Wlngh dh 4 1 1 1 MiCarr 3b 2 1 0 0

Mornea 1b 4 0 0 0 Fielder 1b 4 1 1 3

Parmel rf 4 1 1 0 VMrtnz dh 4 0 0 0

Plouffe 3b 4 1 1 0 JhPerlt ss 4 0 1 0

Arcia lf 3 0 2 1 Avila c 3 0 1 0

Hicks cf 3 0 0 1 Infante 2b 3 0 0 0

Flormn ss 3 0 1 0 D.Kelly rf 3 0 1 0

Totals 33 3 6 3 Totals 30 4 7 4

Minnesota 110 100 000— 3

Detroit 001 003 00x— 4

DP—Minnesota 1. LOB—Minnesota 3, Detroit 5. 2B—Parmelee (2), Arcia (1), Jh.Peralta (5). 3B—D.Kelly (1). HR—Willingham (5), Dirks (1), Fielder (6). SB—Florimon (1).



Pelfrey L,2-3 5Zc 7 4 4 2 1

Duensing 1Zc 0 0 0 1 2

Roenicke 1Zc 0 0 0 0 0


Scherzer W,3-0 7Zc 6 3 3 0 10

Smyly H,4 1Zc 0 0 0 0 0

Benoit S,2-2 Zc 0 0 0 0 0


T—2:47. A—29,878 (41,255).