"There were some good at-bats tonight. The ball was not carrying tremendously well tonight, we know that," Girardi said. "But I think he ended up with three strikeouts. So our guys put the ball in play and tried to get on base, but, you know, when you face Verlander, you know what you're up against."
Seeking their first World Series title since 1984, the Tigers were on a historic pitching run even before their ace took the mound Tuesday. With the exception of a four-run ninth inning against Detroit closer Jose Valverde in Game 1, New York had been shut out for the entire series.
Nunez's homer snapped a scoreless streak by Detroit starters of 30 1-3 innings. That's a record for a single postseason, according to STATS LLC. The previous mark of 29 innings was set by Oakland in 1974.
Verlander fell just short of a second straight shutout after stopping the Athletics in the decisive fifth game of the division series. He struck out only three but kept New York off the scoreboard until the homer to left field by Nunez, the first run allowed by the powerful right-hander since he gave up a leadoff homer to Coco Crisp in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Nunez was at shortstop because Derek Jeter broke his ankle in Game 1 and will miss the rest of the season.
Verlander got Brett Gardner on a tapper before he was lifted after 132 pitches, one shy of his career high set in Game 5 of last year's ALCS against Texas.
"Normally I guess you don't take Secretariat out in the final furlong, but that was pretty much it for him," Leyland said.
Coke came in and allowed two-out hits to Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano, with the latter snapping a drought of 29 at-bats without a hit.