DETROIT -- What started with a little pop ended with a big bang.
Andy Dirks started a rally with a bunt single on the first pitch of the sixth inning Monday night and Prince Fielder ended it with a mammoth opposite field three-run home run that gave the Detroit Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins and their fourth win in a row.
Dirks had hit his first home run of the season in the third inning in his first game after missing the last four with a sore right knee.
"He did it on his own and it was a terrific play," manager Jim Leyland said.
"I was trying to get on base," Dirks said, "because of the big guys. There was nobody out. I thought it was a good time to do it -- especially with those two guys hitting behind me.
"Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. You can bunt it too hard or you can foul it off."
It was only the fifth hit allowed by Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey (2-3). He threw three straight balls to Tigers' slugger Miguel Cabrera before battling back to a full count. He then missed inside to walk Cabrera.
That brought up Fielder, who swung at a sinker that tailed back over the heart of the plate and drilled it over the fence in deep left-center for his sixth home run of the season.
"You know what happens when you get to the middle of that lineup," Twins' manager Ron Gardenhire said. "A bunt, a walk and a home run. Ball game."
Max Scherzer (3-0) gave up three runs in the first four innings before settling in with new faith in his curveball.
Scherzer needs a new pitch like the Roman Empire needed another army. Scherzer has a fastball, changeup and slider.
"I threw it with runners on base," he said. "I've had it, but I was shy about it.
"Jonesy (pitching coach Jeff Jones) gave me a tip. He improved my grip. It was a big step from the last time."
He struck out 10 for the 13th time in his career including the last four he faced and six of the last 10 in his 7 1/3 inning stint.
Lefty Drew Smyly relieved Scherzer after he struck out the leadoff man in the eighth, and Smyly retired all four batters he faced, three of them left-handed.
Joaquin Benoit was brought in and retired Trevor Plouffe on one pitch, a groundout to short, for his second save of the season.
Minnesota took a 3-1 lead in the fourth on doubles by Chris Parmelee and Oswaldo Arcia after Detroit had pulled to within a run on Dirks' home run, Dirks had some success hitting second last season and was batting in that slot Monday night because Leyland decided to give Torii Hunter a night off.
The Twins' Josh Willingham startled Scherzer with his fifth home run of the season after the first two batters of the opening inning had been retired.
Minnesota added a run in the second. One-out singles by Plouffe and Arcia were followed by a wild pitch that put both runners in scoring position. Plouffe scored on a groundout to first by Aaron Hicks.
Pelfrey matched his longest outing of the season with a 5 1/3 inning effort. His other was a win over Detroit in the third game of the season.
"He pitched good," Gardenhire said. "He was sinking it good, getting ground balls and a double play. His slider was good. He did a nice job.
"Remember he missed a year (with Tommy John surgery last May 1). It's a process. This was a step forward for him. His pitch count was good (90 pitches). He just needs innings."
NOTES: Gardenhire switched two slumping players April 16 and both benefited. He dropped slumping leading hitter Hicks to eighth and elevated Brian Dozer to the top spot. Hicks went 0-for-3 Monday but was hitting .300 (6-for-20) in his previous seven games. Dozier went 0-for-4 but was 12-for-33 (.364) through eight previous games in the leadoff spot. ... Cabrera takes 26 RBIs into the last day of April, one shy of what is believed to be the club record for the month set by Tony Clark in 1997. Club records prior to 1921 are inexact. ... Giving up home runs is something Detroit and Minnesota pitchers are reluctant to do. The two the Twins allowed Monday brought their season total to 13 while the one given up by the Tigers was their 12th, fewest in baseball. ... Leyland decided to keep Hunter fresh by giving him a night off. "He's not tired," Leyland said, "but I have to watch it." Leyland also wanted to be cautious with his closer and declared Jose Valverde, who worked Saturday and Sunday, would not be used Monday. "I don't want to do silly things," Leyland said. ... Twins' outfielders had chalked up an assist in their five previous games and six of eight entering Monday. ... Rookie Oswaldo Arcia had a single plus a double for the first multi-hit of his brief career.