DETROIT -- Derek Jeter stepped in and homered on the first pitch of the game, giving the Yankees an early breakthrough against Justin Verlander.
Then Phil Hughes took the mound and actually outpitched the Detroit ace.
"Phil deserves all the credit. He was pretty impressive today," Jeter said. "He just came after people."
Alex Rodriguez also connected against Verlander, and Hughes pitched a four-hitter to lead New York to a 5-1 victory over the Tigers on Sunday. Hughes threw his first career complete game of nine innings -- last Aug. 2 he went all six innings in a rain-shortened win over the White Sox.
Hughes (5-5) struck out eight and walked three. He threw a career-high 123 pitches.
"It feels great. The big thing here has been pitch count and not going very deep into games," Hughes said. "My fastball was staying more true, had some good life on it. I just felt a lot better overall."
Jeter hit his 27th career leadoff homer, and Rodriguez hit a long solo shot in the third inning.
Verlander (5-4) allowed five runs -- three earned -- and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. He's now lost three straight starts for the first time since 2008.
Prince Fielder hit his ninth homer for the Tigers.
Jeter had two hits, and his homer gave him his 1,799th run, tying him with Ted Williams for 17th on the career list.
Verlander was laboring from the start, giving up an opposite-field home run to Jeter and then walking Curtis Granderson on four pitches. After another walk and a passed ball, Mark Teixeira hit a one-out sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
"Runs are few and far between when you're facing him, but we scored early there, and I think he struggled with his control a little bit, so he got his pitch count up," Jeter said.
Verlander stopped to talk to plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt after his first inning on the way back to the dugout. He was still frustrated afterward.
"I was uncomfortable right from the start, because the pitches that I practice every day weren't getting me strikes," Verlander said. "To get a strike, I had to come over more of the plate than I normally do, and that's a big problem against that lineup."
Rodriguez's ninth homer easily cleared the fence in left-center and went an estimated 447 feet. The ball bounced high off the brick wall where retired numbers are displayed -- right between Hank Greenberg's No. 5 and Charlie Gehringer's No. 2. It was the third mammoth homer at Comerica Park in less than 24 hours after Detroit's Miguel Cabrera hit two similar shots to center Saturday night.