Verlander out-dueled Halos ace Jered Weaver and in the process took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning. It was Maicer Izturis who broke it up with two outs.
This time around, as the two teams square off in the second game of a three-game set at Angel Stadium, the Tigers will be content with just earning the victory with their ace on the hill.
Detroit is one game behind the White Sox in the AL Central and 3 1/2 games behind the Orioles for the second Wild Card spot, trailing the Angels by 1 1/2 games, as well.
In his last start, Verlander snapped a four-game losing streak with eight innings of four-hit, one-run ball to finish off the sweep of Chicago and give the Tigers a temporary share of first place.
"We feel like we made this statement last time," said Verlander after the game. "Obviously, we didn't continue to play great. I think we just need to maintain the intensity that we had this series."
The Tigers failed to do that against the Indians, dropping two of their last three games, and then dropped the series opener in Anaheim. And C.J. Wilson will hope to continue Detroit's slide Saturday.
Although still not as sharp as he was earlier in the year, Wilson has bounced back from an 11-start winless streak to earn victories in his past two starts. Most recently, the left-hander gave up two runs on five hits in five innings vs. Oakland.
Tigers: Cabrera has a rare poor night at plate
Miguel Cabrera struck out three times Friday night. It's the first time the reigning AL batting champion has struck out three times in a game since fanning four times against the White Sox on Sept. 17, 2010.
Former Tigers skipper Les Moss, who served as manager in 1979, coaching Tigers greats such as Alan Trammell, Lance Parrish and Jack Morris, passed away last week. He was 87.
With nine strikeouts Friday night, Max Scherzer is once again the Major League leader with 213. He surpassed Verlander by four, as the two have been battling back and forth.
Angels: Weaver to throw side session Saturday
The Halos remain hopeful that the tendinitis in Weaver's pitching arm will subside in the next few days. He will throw a side session Saturday and they will take the weekend to evaluate their ace before deciding when he will pitch again.
"I'd like to just skip one start, but it all depends on how my body responds," Weaver said. "We really don't have a timetable on the return."
Erick Aybar is still having trouble shaking the scary incident that occurred in Oakland on Wednesday, when a ball hit off his bat struck A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy in the head. McCarthy underwent surgery that night.
"It has been a tough last few days for me as I keep replaying in my head when the ball struck Brandon," Aybar said in a statement Friday. "I am encouraged and thankful to know that he is making significant progress and keep praying to God to please help him recover quickly and fully."
The Angels enter Saturday's game having won nine of their last 10 contests. However, they are 3-5 against the Tigers after Friday night's 3-2 walk-off win.