Verlander (7-4) won his second straight start as he was charged with just two runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts for the Tigers, who had dropped three of four coming in. Alex Avila went 3-for-3, drove in two and scored once, while Brennan Boesch added a solo homer and scored twice.
Andrew McCutchen had a pair of doubles, one RBI and one run scored, and Garrett Jones also drove in a run for the Pirates, who have lost six straight. Ross Ohlendorf (0-4) was tagged for six runs on 10 hits with six strikeouts over six innings of work.
Pittsburgh grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third as Akinori Iwamura led off with a walk and, after moving to third on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout, came home on a double from McCutchen.
Detroit, though, moved ahead in the fourth. With two outs, Boesch crushed a pitch into the seats in right. Carlos Guillen followed with a double, and an RBI double from Brandon Inge and a run-scoring single from Avila made it a 3-1 game.
With two outs in the sixth, Detroit doubled its run total. Boesch led off with a single and, after the next two batters flied out, stole second. Avila then punched a single to right that scored Boesch and Santiago followed with his second home run of the year for a 6-1 lead.
The Pirates threatened in the eighth as McChutchen led off with a double and Neil Walker followed with a walk. Phil Coke came on in relief and got Ryan Doumit to hit into a double play, but Jones followed with an RBI single to center to make it a 6-2 game.
Jose Valverde came on for the ninth and tossed a scoreless frame to close the game.
The Tigers are 30-6 over their last 36 interleague games at home...Detroit is 12-10 all-time against Pittsburgh...The Pirates are a major-league worst 71-111 in interleague play...Valverde has not allowed a run in his last 24 outings, tossing 24 1/3 scoreless innings. His 0.36 earned run average is tops among all American League relievers.