Hours before a 7-0 victory over Detroit on Sunday, the Yankees puzzled over Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

They noted his sinister four-pitch blend — his ability to throw fastballs, changeups, curveballs and sliders all for strikes — and his unpredictability.

"He doesn’t really get into patterns," Jayson Nix said.

Thus Nix insisted he wasn’t sitting on the 3-1 changeup that stunned the Comerica Park crowd in the second inning. He merely reacted to the pitch, driving it over the left-field fence for a two-run homer. The home run increased the Yankees early advantage as they cruised to a critical early-season victory.

Nix started in place of Eduardo Nunez, who required a second day to rest his bruised right bicep. Nunez attempted to throw a baseball yesterday, but could not. He still hopes he can play today in Cleveland.

The homer was Nix’s first hit of the season. Verlander pointed to his own head afterward. And Nix continued to take good at-bats during the game, manager Joe Girardi explained. He singled in the seventh inning after just pulling another long drive foul.

Nix and catcher Francisco Cervelli provided CC Sabathia with an early advantage.

One batter before Nix’s homer, Cervelli raked an RBI double.

He is slugging .615 in the early going, with a .438 on-base percentage.

"I really believe that he can contribute offensively, as well," Girardi said.