St. Petersburg, FL – Alex Avila's two-run home run backed 2, to open a four-game series.
Verlander (19-5) allowed one run on three hits and three walks while fanning eight in the right-hander's seventh consecutive victory. He also tied his career-high in wins with the performance.
Jeff Niemann (8-5) gave up four runs on six hits and three walks in 7 1/3 innings. He had won his previous seven decisions prior to the loss, his first since May 4 against Toronto.