ARLINGTON -- Tyler Collins' three-run homer fueled the Tigers' five-run fifth inning off Colby Lewis, sending the Rangers to their third straight loss with a 7-4 defeat on Monday night at Globe Life Park.
Texas has lost three in a row for the first time in six weeks, shrinking its lead in the American League West to 1 1/2 games following the Astros' win over the Mariners in Seattle.
With the win, the Tigers moved into a tie with the White Sox for fourth in the AL Central.
Prince Fielder's line-drive home run leading off the fourth inning, his 23rd homer this season, was the only scoring off Justin Verlander (5-8), who won back-to-back starts for just the second time this season. Verlander allowed six hits with two walks and five strikeouts while dropping his ERA to a season-low 3.39.
"It's been nice, obviously, just to go out there and pitch well and give the organization and the fans and myself something to look forward to next year," said Verlander, who has a 2.05 ERA over his last 10 starts. "Obviously, we're not playing for a lot right now but pride, and it's nice to go out there and get wins. We can play spoiler."
Lewis (17-9), who outpitched Verlander in a 2-0 win on Aug. 21 in Detroit, couldn't keep up in the rematch, ending his three-game winning streak. The former Tiger did not retire the side in order after the first inning and gave up five hits in the fifth. James McCann added on following Collins' homer with a two-out two-run single.
"It just didn't work -- a couple pitches didn't work, and that's what they took advantage of," Lewis said. "It's still a big league club regardless of records and everything else that's going on. They went out there and did their job when they needed to, especially with runners in scoring position."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Collins begins rally: Collins hit the road coming off a 4-for-23 homestand, but he jumped on a first-pitch slider from Lewis and lined it over the fence in the right-field corner for his fourth home run of the season and his first in three weeks.
"He's playing in front of friends and family here," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of Collins, who went to high school in nearby Justin, Texas, "so that might have given him a little boost."
Just out of reach: The Tigers had three hits that just barely sailed over the gloves of Rangers infielders, and two of those hits led to runs. In the third, Andrew Romine singled to right just inches over second baseman Rougned Odor, took second on Dixon Machado's liner that barely got over the glove of third baseman Beltre, and scored when Lewis walked Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded. Machado led off the fifth with a single and Anthony Gose followed with a double that once again narrowly eluded a leaping Rangers infielder, shortstop Elvis Andrus. Machado and Gose scored on Collins' homer.
Verlander escapes jam: The Rangers had an opportunity to turn Fielder's fourth-inning homer into a much bigger inning, loading the bases with nobody out on back-to-back singles and a walk, but Verlander dominated the bottom third of the Texas batting order, getting Andrus to fly out to shallow right before striking out Odor and spotting a 96-mph fastball on the corner to Chris Gimenez.
"When he felt the game was on the line, he was able to turn it up," Ausmus said. "He has that knack for being able to step on the gas if he gets in trouble." More >
Lewis misses on one last pitch: After McCann singled and Victor Martinez took third with two outs in the fifth, Rangers manager Jeff Banister jogged to the mound for a quick conference with Lewis and the infielders during an injury timeout for Martinez. But Lewis threw only one more pitch -- a slider that McCann drove to center for a two-run single -- before Banister came right back out to give his starter the hook.
"I have conversations with these guys in the dugout all the time just to see where they're at, it just happened to be that I had an opportunity to go out there and talk to him while he was on the mound to find out where he was at," Banister said. "I still felt like that he was our best option."
Victor Martinez left the game with a sore left quad, an injury sustained while running the bases in the fifth inning. He hobbled into third base on Nick Castellanos' double and hunched over at the bag. He stayed in the game and limped home on McCann's two-run single, then Steven Moya pinch-hit for him in the sixth.
"The quad isn't exactly [a] new [injury]," Ausmus said. "It has acted up before, not enough to take him out of a game." More >
"The ninth wasn't exactly how you want it to go. In fact, I think I felt four more gray hairs pop in." -- Ausmus, on the Rangers' rally in the ninth
"[He's] a guy that can be a difference-maker for us. You watched him run around the outfield, he looked good, seemed like he felt good. I believe he's definitely an option for us if he's healthy and continues to feel good." -- Banister, on Josh Hamilton, who played the entire game in left field for the second time in the past three games after missing most of September with a knee injury
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Fielder was 0-for-8 against Verlander entering the game before walking in the first inning and homering in the fourth. No pitcher had more matchups with Fielder without allowing a hit or a walk.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers:Daniel Norris, who has thrown 8 2/3 innings of one-hit, eight-strikeout ball in two starts since his return from the disabled list, takes the mound again on Tuesday coming off five perfect innings against the White Sox last Tuesday. So far all that has stopped Norris has been his pitch count, which is expected to sit around 80 to 85 this time around.
Rangers: Texas has won eight in a row with lefty Cole Hamels on the mound, and he will make his 11th start since joining the Rangers on Tuesday. Hamels is 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA in five September starts.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.