BOSTON – Justin Verlander felt he pitched well. The Boston Red Sox just hit a bit better.
Verlander, the reigning American League MVP and Cy Young award winner, was tagged for 10 hits in Detroit's 6-3 loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday night.
Verlander had his usual velocity, but said he hurt himself by falling behind 3-1 in the count against Daniel Nava with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth.
Detroit was trailing 1-0 before Verlander threw a 100-mph fastball that Nava drove for a double.
"Mostly I'm disappointed about not being able to get ahead of him," Verlander said. "I think if I'm ahead in that situation, he's not able to get to the fastball in that situation."
Verlander (5-3) lasted just six innings, scattering 10 hits to eight different players in dropping a second consecutive start for the first time since April 2011.
"He just wasn't himself, he just wasn't sharp. That happens," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We give them credit. They hit him so you give them credit. Tip your hat to them."
Less than two weeks after nearly throwing his third career no-hitter, Verlander walked one and struck out seven, watching his ERA rise from 2.15 — which led the league entering the day — to 2.55.
"I can't say I pitched bad, but it was a battle because of the way that they were putting together at-bats against me," he said. "There was a lot of guys on and a lot of high intensity pitches."
The Red Sox improved to 25-24, finally achieving a winning record after going 0-5 in games that could have put them above .500. Boston fans had to wait a while to enjoy the moment because of a 38-minute rain delay with one out in the bottom of the eighth.
Daniel Bard (5-5) pitched 5 1-3 innings for Boston, allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
Boston used four relievers before Alfredo Aceves came in after the rain delay and finished the eighth, then held the Tigers scoreless in the ninth for his 12th save.
Jhonny Peralta and Prince Fielder hit solo homers for the Tigers, who fell to 0-2 in the four-game series.
Verlander hadn't allowed 10 hits in a game since September 2010. Boston got four alone in a three-run fourth inning. Kevin Youkilis, Mike Aviles and Scott Podsednik all singled to load the bases before Nava put Boston up 4-0 with a two-out double. Verlander hit 100 MPH repeatedly in the at-bat before Nava came through with a full count, lining a shot down the left-field line.
Verlander came in with 16.2 consecutive scoreless innings against Boston, but the streak ended in the second when Ortiz led off with a double off the Green Monster and scored on a fielder's choice by Mike Aviles, who avoided a double play by beating out Peralta's throw.
Peralta hit a solo homer in the fifth for the Tigers' first run and Fielder added a solo shot in the sixth.
Ortiz hit his second double of the game in the fifth, bringing Adrian Gonzalez all the way in from first for a 5-1 lead. Ortiz tried to push it for a triple and was easily thrown out at third.
Ortiz atoned for the base-running mistake with a homer to left in the seventh.
Notes: Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia did not play Tuesday after jamming his right thumb in Monday's win over the Tigers. Manager Bobby Valentine said Pedroia aggravated a pre-existing injury to his thumb and underwent an MRI but the results were not yet available ... Verlander pitched at least six innings for the 53rd straight start, dating to Aug. 22, 2010. It marks the longest such streak by a pitcher since Steve Carlton's 69-game run from 1979-82. ... This was the longest the Red Sox took to go above .500 since 1996, when Boston finally improved to 66-65 on Aug. 25. ... Red Sox OF Carl Crawford said he is about 10 days away from starting to throw as he continues his rehab from a sore left elbow.