Mike Napoli homered in the seventh inning off Verlander, and Detroit's attempt at a rally fell short in the eighth when Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder both struck out with runners at the corners.
Lackey allowed four hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out eight without a walk in a game that was delayed 17 minutes in the second inning because lights on the stadium towers went out.
Detroit trails the series despite three straight gems by its starters. Game 4 is Wednesday night at Comerica Park.
Details in Wednesday's Tribune Sports section.