The Andalusian side had slumped from fourth to eighth after taking just one point from their previous three matches, but they were triumphant after seeing off battling Mallorca at the Iberostar Stadium.
Early goals from Javier Saviola and Isco put Malaga in charge and Nacho Monreal restored the visiting side's two-goal lead in the second half after Victor Casadesus had pulled a goal back for the hosts.
However, from a position of strength Malaga found themselves under serious pressure after conceding a second Mallorca goal to Giovani dos Santos in the 71st minute and then losing Martin Demichelis to a red card 60 seconds later.
Mallorca could not find an equaliser though, as Malaga held on to move back to fourth spot, replacing Real Betis courtesy of their better goal difference.
It took Manuel Pellegrini's men just 10 minutes to get their noses in front when Saviola lashed the ball home on the volley after Mallorca had failed to deal with an inswinging free-kick from Isco.
The highly-rated Isco then made it 2-0 himself six minutes later with a clinical side-footed finish at the far post after being picked out by Monreal.
Mallorca were quick to respond though and, after spurning a great counter-attacking opportunity, they halved Malaga's lead in the 27th minute when Victor slotted home a Tomer Hemed header.
The home side had several chances to get back on terms before the break but they failed to take them and were made to pay as Malaga went 3-1 ahead in the 62nd minute when Monreal fired an unstoppable shot past Juan Calatayud.
Second-bottom Mallorca again refused to give in and they were suddenly right back in it after Giovani curled in a brilliant 25-yard free-kick and then almost immediately Demichelis was handed his marching orders for a foul on Tomas Pina.
The Balearic islanders could not make their extra man count, however, as Malaga held out for a much-welcomed victory.