Third baseman Miguel Cabrera helped the Tigers rally from an early 2-0 deficit with a home run in the fourth inning and a two-run double in the fifth inning to increase his Major League-leading RBI total to 95 for the season. Right-fielder Adam Dirks also added a pair of run-scoring singles.
Starter Rick Porcello (9-6) earned his second win in a row after giving up three runs and eight hits in six and two thirds innings. Eric Chavez tagged Porcello with a two-run homer in the fourth inning and then Ichiro Suzuki ended Porcello's night with a run-scoring double in the seventh inning.
Closer Jose Valverde made things interesting in the ninth inning, giving up a pair of two-out runs before getting Curtis Granderson to pop out and end the game for Valverde's 22nd save of the season.
New York starter Phil Hughes (11-9) took the loss after giving up four runs and eight hits in four and a third innings.
The two teams continue their four-game series on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. ET.