DETROIT -- Andy Dirks had been missing in action during the first month of the season, but the left fielder put a jolt into the Tigers on Monday night.
Dirks got Detroit on the scoreboard with his first homer of the season, a solo shot in the third, then started the game-winning, sixth-inning rally with a perfect bunt single.
The highlight reel hit will be Prince Fielders majestic, three-run homer near the flagpole at Comerica Park. But make no mistake about it, the best thing about the 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins was Dirks.
He was batting .167, and had scored one run and knocked in one run over the last two weeks. The right knee he banged up running into the outfield wall in Lakeland, Fla., late in spring training was getting worse, even causing him to limp.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland had seen enough of Dirks trying to play through it. Leyland gave him four games off, and Dirks said he felt better each day with a new strengthening program also paying dividends.