Detroit, MI – Jhonny Peralta finished 4-for-4 and drove in three runs as Detroit nipped Pittsburgh, 6-5, in the opener of a two-game interleague set.
Victor Martinez collected two hits and drove in a pair, while Prince Fielder hit safely twice and scored three times for the Tigers, who have won six of their last seven.
Justin Verlander (6-4) worked seven frames, striking out a season-high 13 batters while yielding three runs on seven hits with two walks. Jose Valverde tossed a scoreless ninth for his sixth save of the season.
"I'm not going to say this was a great game because I struck out 13 guys," Verlander said. "That's showing me that my offspeed stuff was a lot better. I just know from me being out there that the fastball control wasn't where I wanted it. I expect the bar I set for myself to be high."
Travis Snider finished with three hits, an RBI and scored once for the Pirates, who lost for the second time in their last eight. Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez each drove in a run in defeat.
Francisco Liriano (3-1) departed after five innings, allowing eight hits and four runs to take the loss.
Pittsburgh got back within a run in the seventh after Snider's RBI triple and an RBI double from Walker with two down, but Verlander worked out of trouble by fanning McCutchen to end his outing.
"I'd thrown him one all day, and I knew my curve had been really good," Verlander admitted, "So I thought it was a great time to throw it. He's a really tough out."
The right-hander's offense came through in the home portion by restoring a three-run edge after Peralta's infield single with two on scored Miguel Cabrera and a bases-loaded walk to Brayan Pena plated Fielder for a 6-3 contest.
The visitors did not go quietly in the eighth. Jones doubled and scored when Fielder missed a Russell Martin grounder, and he came in on a Sanchez double down the left-field line with one out. Joaquin Benoit managed to pick off pinch runner Josh Harrison and fanned Brandon Inge to keep it 6-5.
"I'm taking a couple extra steps, maybe I go," said Harrison about the play after his teammates stole three bases earlier in the game. "But then Benoit did something different that he didn't do the previous five pitches."
Valverde's only blip in the final frame came on a one-out single to Snider.
The Bucs got on the board in the first when Walker tripled with one out and scored on a McCutchen fly to right.
Detroit picked up a run in the home fourth, thanks to consecutive singles from Fielder, Martinez and Peralta.
It was 4-1 in the fifth for the hosts. Torii Hunter walked with one out, went to third on a two-out single from Fielder, then Martinez plated both with a double and Peralta brought in Martinez on another two-bagger.
Verlander fanned 12 in a 2-0 loss at Seattle on April 18, and his highest strikeout total in a win this season prior to Monday was nine, last accomplished in his other start in Cleveland on May 22 ... Prior to the game, the Bucs announced that Jose Tabata was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 25, while also selecting the contract of pitcher Mike Zagurski from Triple-A Indianapolis, transferring pitcher Jeff Karstens to the 60-day disabled list, recalling infielder Josh Harrison from Indy to replace Tabata on the 25-man active roster and optioning pitcher Bryan Morris to Triple-A.