Verlander, 36, accomplished the milestone when he struck out Oakland's Robbie Grossman in the seventh inning of the Astros' 5-1 victory at the Coliseum on Saturday night. That strikeout was the 2,807th of Verlander's career.
Verlander said it was "pretty humbling" to pass Young. The award for the league's top pitcher is named for Young, who won 511 games from 1890 to 1911. Verlander won the award in 2011 while with the Detroit Tigers.
"As much as you try to keep your head down and keep pitching and not pay attention to whatever is going on, any time Cy Young pops up on your radar and you're associated with him, it's pretty special," Verlander said.
Verlander struck out eight Oakland hitters in eight innings. He ended the night with 2,809 career strikeouts.
Verlander is five strikeouts shy of passing Hall of Famer Mike Mussina, who retired with 2,813 strikeouts.
Nolan Ryan, a former Astro from 1980-88, has the major-league strikeout record with 5,714. He played 27 years in the majors.
Verlander is 9-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 13 starts this year. The former AL MVP has 103 strikeouts in only 87 1/3 innings.
Verlander has a career 213-15 record since debuting in July 2005. He is a seven-time All-Star and won a World Series with the Astros in 2017.
Houston is 39-20 this season. The Astros have an 8 1/2-game lead over the Texas Rangers for first place in the AL West Division.