|Detroit (13-11) «||0||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||x||3||12||0|
Verlander (2-2) allowed one run and two hits in seven innings, finishing up by escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam.
Last Monday, he fanned nine in seven shutout innings against the Yankees.
"This is certainly the best I've felt in a while," he said. "This is why I worked so hard in the spring to get back to my natural arm angle. It wasn't easy -- I felt like I was throwing sidearm for a week when I had only moved it an inch -- but it is paying off."
After winning Rookie of the Year in 2006 while leading the Tigers to the World Series, Verlander seemed to have an unlimited future when he went 18-6 in 2007 and pitched a no-hitter against Milwaukee.
Last year, though, he finished 11-17. He then allowed 24 runs in 21 innings over his first four starts this season.
"I thought Justin was brilliant," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I think he answered some questions and answered some critics."
Verlander finished up his 121-pitch outing by escaping a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the seventh with the score tied at 1.
"A lot of times, they will have you walk someone and then take you out, so I looked over to the dugout," Verlander said. "When I didn't see Jim, I knew I had to focus on getting outs."
Indians manager Eric Wedge said he didn't consider hitting for LaPorta or Valbuena, even though both were playing their first major league games of the season.
"If I didn't want them to hit against Verlander in that situation, I wouldn't have started them against him," he said. "They both had good at-bats, but didn't get anything out of them."
Dane Sardinha and Granderson started the Detroit seventh with consecutive doubles. Granderson, who hit a go-ahead eighth-inning homer in Saturday's win, later scored on Magglio Ordonez's single through the drawn-in infield.
Cliff Lee (1-4) has already lost more games this season than he did last year, when he went 22-3 and won the AL Cy Young Award. Lee gave up three runs and 12 hits in seven innings, and left with a 3.92 ERA -- last year, it was 2.54.
"Verlander pitched very well, but it is my job to keep us in games," Lee said. "I was mostly happy with what I did, but it wasn't enough. Sardinha hit a good pitch, so did Granderson and Magglio hit a bouncer in the right spot."
Detroit missed out on a scoring chance in the first when Placido Polanco was thrown out at the plate on an infield grounder, but the Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the next inning on Brandon Inge's long homer, his eighth.
Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI single -- Cleveland's first hit -- tied it in the third, but Lee and Verlander didn't allow another run until the seventh.
"This is a really good win for us," Leyland said. "It was dictated by pitching, just like most games."
|Placido Polanco is out at home after the tag by Indians catcher Kelly Shoppach. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Grady Sizemore, CF||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.240|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, SS||4||0||1||1||0||0||0||.317|
|Victor Martinez, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.388|
|Shin-Soo Choo, LF||2||0||0||0||2||2||0||.262|
|Mark DeRosa, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.235|
|Dave Dellucci, DH||3||0||0||0||1||3||0||.500|
|Kelly Shoppach, C||3||1||0||0||0||0||3||.222|
|Matt LaPorta, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||4||.000|
|Luis Valbuena, 2B||2||0||0||0||1||1||3||.000|
|2B - Mark DeRosa (5, Verlander)|
|RBI - Asdrubal Cabrera (11)|
|2-OUT RBI - Asdrubal Cabrera (6)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Cliff Lee (L,1-4)||7||12||3||3||1||4||1||3.92|
|Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 114-72, Masa Kobayashi 13-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 6-11|
|Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 34, Masa Kobayashi 3|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||5||1||2||1||0||1||1||.270|
|Placido Polanco, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.265|
|Magglio Ordonez, RF||4||0||2||1||0||0||1||.253|
|Miguel Cabrera, 1B||4||0||3||0||0||0||0||.393|
|Carlos Guillen, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||7||.198|
|Josh Anderson, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.326|
|Brandon Inge, 3B||3||1||1||1||1||1||0||.316|
|Ryan Raburn, DH||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.091|
|Adam Everett, SS||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.269|
|Dane Sardinha, C||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.167|
|2B - Curtis Granderson (2, Lee), Dane Sardinha (1, Lee)|
|HR - Brandon Inge (8, Lee)|
|RBI - Curtis Granderson (18), Magglio Ordonez (11), Brandon Inge (19)|
|SB - Adam Everett (1, 2nd base off Lee/Shoppach)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|Justin Verlander (W,2-2)||7||2||1||1||3||11||0||5.66|
|Bobby Seay (H,8)||0.2||1||0||0||1||0||0||2.16|
|Joel Zumaya (H,1)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Fernando Rodney (S,6)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||4.50|
|IBB - Dellucci by Justin Verlander|
|HBP - Shoppach (by Justin Verlander)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 121-75, Bobby Seay 17-10, Joel Zumaya 2-1, Fernando Rodney 12-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 4-6, Fernando Rodney 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 27, Bobby Seay 4, Joel Zumaya 1, Fernando Rodney 3|
|Attendance - 27411|
|Game Time - 2:37|
|Temperature - 66|
|Umpires - Home - Scott Barry, First Base - Eric Cooper, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Laz Diaz|