DETROIT -- Justin Verlander matched a career high with 14 strikeouts and got home-run support from Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, leading the Detroit Tigers over the New York Yankees 7-2 Monday night.
Verlander (12-7) threw 132 pitches, his most in a regular-season game, and sent the Tigers to their fifth straight win.
Before this opener of a three-game series, manager Jim Leyland said the Tigers needed a big effort from Verlander. Detroit is chasing Chicago in the AL Central.
"Hopefully your ace is an ace," Leyland said.
Verlander started strong and didn't let up.
The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young award winner struck out former teammate Curtis Granderson -- for the first of three times -- with an 85 mph breaking pitch to lead off the game and struck out the first two Yankees in the second inning. Verlander also fanned Ichiro Suzuki and Mark Teixeira three times each.
Verlander gave up two unearned runs after his fielding error extended the fifth inning.
Leyland visited Verlander at the mound in the eighth after he gave up a walk to Raul Ibanez, and left him in the game following a brief chat. With many fans on their feet, Verlander responded by striking out Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez and Suzuki to tie his strikeout high set last year against Arizona.
Verlander raised his left hand to acknowledge a roaring, standing ovation as he walked off the field.
Closer Jose Valverde retired the side in order in the ninth.
Detroit has won 19 of its last 23 home games. The AL East-leading Yankees have lost 11 of 17 overall.
Ivan Nova (10-6) was roughed up for seven runs and 11 hits -- matching a career high -- in 5 1-3 innings.
The Tigers broke it open with three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth to go ahead 7-2.
Verlander allowed the Yankees to score twice in the fifth when Granderson hit a two-out grounder and the pitcher looked down to step on first base as Fielder made an accurate throw that hit his glove. Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano took advantage with RBI singles that made it 2-all.
NOTES: Verlander joined Jim Bunning (1958) as the only Tigers to strike out 14 Yankees in a game. ... Suzuki snapped his 12-game hitting streak as a Yankee and struck out for the first time with his new team. ... Cabrera's 28th homer of the season went 454 feet, clearing the second row of shrubs in center. ... The Yankees have decided Triple-A left-hander Manny Banuelos, out since May with a bruised left elbow, won't pitch again this season. ... Verlander had lost his last two starts, giving up nine runs over 12 innings. ... Nova has given up 11 hits twice this year to Detroit and three times in his career.