Justin Verlander found his groove on the mound, and Mike Mussina may have found a place on the bench.




Verlander shut down the New York Yankees with his best stuff since throwing a no-hitter while Detroit roughed up Mussina and a couple of relievers in a 16-0 win over New York on Monday night.




It was the Tigers' highest-scoring game this season. For the Yankees, it was the most one-sided road shutout loss in franchise history, topping a 15-0 defeat at the Chicago White Sox on July 15, 1907, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.




"We're playing with a sense of urgency right now because our fate is in our own hands," Verlander said. "We need to just go out and have fun and play like we did for most of the first half of the season."




The Tigers took three of the four games and won a series for the first time since sweeping Minnesota from July 17-19. They won back-to-back games for just the third time since having baseball's best record on July 21.




"If you don't get any confidence from taking three out of four against the Yankees, you probably don't have a pulse," said Brandon Inge, who had four RBIs on three hits.




In other AL games, it was: Cleveland 8, Minnesota 3; Los Angeles 6, Seattle 0; Chicago 5, Tampa Bay 4; and Toronto 6, Oakland 2 in 12 innings.




Verlander (14-5) gave up just three hits in seven innings, but Detroit didn't make up any ground in the AL Central, though, because the Cleveland Indians won their third straight game to maintain a 21/2-game lead.




"Everything is so tight that whoever gets hot right now is going to win this thing," Tigers first baseman Sean Casey said.




Detroit turned a rout into a laugher with a six-run seventh and finished with 20 hits. Inge, Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco had three hits each.




"Everybody is going to talk about the offense, but I really liked the look in Verlander's eye," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He really went at a real good hitting team. To me, that was the bright spot of the evening."




New York has lost five of seven games and fallen eight games behind AL East-leading Boston. The Yankees, who had closed within four games of the Red Sox when the trip started, host Boston in a three-game set starting Tuesday night.




"This has been a bad road trip, and now we've got a very important homestand ahead of us," Derek Jeter said. "We don't have the luxury of taking a break because we've had a bad week. We have to start winning again."




Mussina (8-10) might've pitched himself out of the rotation, lasting just three innings and giving up six runs, nine hits and a walk.




"Give me a day to digest it, and I'll be able to answer some more questions," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.




For the first time in Mussina's 17 seasons, he has allowed at least six earned runs in three straight starts and lasted three innings or fewer in back-to-back outings. Mussina has allowed 19 earned runs in 9 2-3 innings &

an ERA of 17.69 &

in his last three starts and his season ERA has gone from 4.50 to 5.53.




"I can't believe in three starts that I forgot how to pitch after 17 years," he said. "So I just hope he has confidence enough in me to keep sending me out there and let me figure this out.




"But at the same time, we've got to win ballgames and I'll understand if he thinks that we need to do something else."




Indians 8, Twins —




At Cleveland, Paul Byrd (13-5) beat Minnesota once again, Victor Martinez homered and Cleveland turned a triple play in slowing Minnesota's climb in the AL Central.




Martinez hit a two-run homer in the third off Carlos Silva (10-13). Kelly Shoppach and Travis Hafner each added two RBIs for the Indians.




Angels 6, Mariners 0




At Seattle, John Lackey (16-8) pitched his second straight seven-hit shutout against the Mariners, and Los Angeles increased its lead in the AL West to three games.




Garret Anderson homered and had three RBIs as the Angels improved to 9-4 against Seattle this season.




Miguel Batista (13-10) allowed six runs in six innings and gave up 10 hits &

matching his season high.




White Sox 5, Devil Rays 4




At Chicago, Jose Contreras (7-16) got his first win as a starter in two months and rookie Josh Fields put the White Sox ahead with Chicago's fourth home run of the seventh inning.




Tampa Bay starter Edwin Jackson took a 4-0 lead into the seventh before A.J. Pierzynski, Jermaine Dye and Juan Uribe homered consecutively to make it 4-3.




Danny Richar doubled to finish Jackson and, one out later, advanced on Dan Wheeler's wild pitch. Wheeler (0-2) fanned Jerry Owens for the second out, but Fields lined his 17th homer to give Chicago the lead.




Blue Jays 6, Athletics 2, 12 innings




At Oakland, Calif., Troy Glaus' run-scoring double off the wall highlighted Toronto's four-run rally in the 12th inning, and Toronto sent Oakland to its fourth straight loss.




Oakland tied it in the eighth on Dan Johnson's RBI single, and the A's bullpen retired 11 straight batters before Vernon Wells and Frank Thomas singled to lead off the 12th against Alan Embree (1-2).




Glaus then crushed a line drive off the top of the extended wall in left-center, and Aaron Hill followed with an RBI single off Ruddy Lugo.