DETROIT -- April was very good to Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Torii Hunter.
Cabrera put his name in one spot in the Detroit record book Tuesday night with his 27th and 28th RBI of the month and in another with his 37th hit.
Verlander ended the month with his best April ERA (1.83) and improved to 3-2 in what until the last few seasons has traditionally been a tough month for the Detroit ace.
He allowed one run and five hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings to help the Tigers down the Minnesota Twins 6-1 and win their fifth game in a row.
"I don't know if he had his best stuff," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But he made it work. We had a chance to do something early, but he made good pitches when he had to."
Hunter doubled down the first-base line with one out in the first, his 37th hit in April, to equal what is believed to be a club best established in 2007 by Placido Polanco.
It's the best since at least 1921. Team statistics before that are incomplete.
Cabrera followed Hunter's hit with his fourth home run of the season, another booming opposite-field shot that gave Detroit a 2-0 edge. Cabrera took an 0-1 changeup that was a shade off the plate and rifled it into the right-field seats.
"That pitch was off the plate," Hunter said. "He went down and got it. I was shocked. He's the best hitter I've ever seen, the best hitter I've ever played with. (Albert) Pujols is a great hitter, but Cabrera has better opposite field power."
Cabrera's 28 RBI in April were one better than the total posted by Tony Clark in 1997, the most for the month since at least 1921. It was also Cabrera's 37th hit of the month, matching Hunter's total.
Andy Dirks hit a home run in the second to counter a run the Twins got in the top of the inning and Prince Fielder yanked a long ball into the right-field seats for a two-run homer to complete a three-run fifth.
Singles by Omar Infante and Austin Jackson plus an RBI groundout by Hunter preceded Fielder's seventh home run of the season. He took a 1-0 pitch deep.
"Cabrera might be the best opposite field hitter I've ever seen," Gardenhire said, "but Prince isn't far behind. Those are two really, really good hitters.
"They've got big power guys and a good rotation. You have to keep guys off the bases in front of them."
Verlander gave up a walk and a single to open the second and nearly got out of the inning intact by retiring the next two hitters. However, former Tiger Wilkin Ramirez lined a double to left center to pull Minnesota to 2-1.
"I'm just trying to keep us in the game," Verlander said. "More times than not this lineup is going to score runs."
Verlander had to leave after seven innings of his previous start with a blister on the thumb of his pitching hand. This time, he came out because he'd thrown 114 pitches after seven.
It's getting some attention that Verlander has not hit 100 mph with a fastball yet this season, but as he has aged, he has learned that dialing it up isn't always the best tactic.
Verlander was hitting 95 mph and 96 mph fairly consistently, but in the last few seasons has discovered that working at 90-93 mph can get him through the early innings.
"I'm not trying to establish velocity the wrong way," Verlander said, "and 96, 97 is pretty good. I'm not trying to push it."
The eight strikeouts gave Verlander 41 for the season, the third Detroit starter with at least that many. Detroit's staff has 252 strikeouts, most by a Tigers staff since at least 1921.
Drew Smyly got through the eighth, but Al Alburquerque had to be rescued by Joaquin Benoit to finish the ninth. Benoit stranded runners at first and third by striking out pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit and getting Eduardo Escobar to ground out to second.
NOTES: Catcjer Alex Avila has three RBI for Detroit this season -- and three home runs. ... Verlander struck out Aaron Hicks three times in the first game of the season, so Gardenhire decided Tuesday would be a good night to give his rookie center fielder a night off. ... Octavio Dotel, on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation, threw lightly for the first time since being disabled. "It feels good," he said. "We'll see how it feels Wednesday and Thursday." ... Escobar replaced Dozier at second base and led off in Gardenhire's lineup against Verlander. Escobar hit a walk-off RBI double to beat Detroit on April 3. ... Joe Mauer snapped a career-longest 21-at-bat hitless streak with a sharp line single to right with one out in the third. It figured though, since Mauer entered the game with a career .373 batting average against Verlander that was the second best of any hitter off the right-hander (to Kansas City's Billy Butler's .418).