Justin Verlander escaped a bases loaded jam in the ninth inning for his first win and complete game of the season as Detroit edged Kansas City, 3-2, in the opener of a three-game set.
Verlander (1-1) gave up two runs on seven hits with two walks, a hit batter and nine strikeouts in the 15th complete game of his career.
Jhonny Peralta went 3-for-4 with a run scored while Brandon Inge hit a two- run home run and Austin Jackson added a solo shot for the Tigers, who have won their past two.
Billy Butler and Humberto Quintero each drove in a run for the Royals, who have dropped their past five. Danny Duffy (1-1) was touched for three runs on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings to suffer the loss.
The ninth inning started with Detroit holding a 3-1 lead and Butler singling to start. After Jeff Francouer grounded out and pinch-runner Jason Bourgeois took second on the play, Mike Moustakas grounded out to move Bourgeois to third.
Quintero then punched a single to center to make it a one-run game. Mitch Maier followed with a walk and Alcides Escobar was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Verlander got Alex Gordon to look at a third strike to end the game.
Jackson led off the first with a shot over the wall in left, but in the bottom half Butler scored Gordon, who led off the first with a double, on a single to tie the game.
Peralta belted a double to center in the fifth, and Inge later hit his first homer of the season for a 3-1 lead.
Kansas City had runners on second and third with one out in the fifth, but Verlander struck out Gordon and got Chris Getz to line out to kill the threat.
Detroit took 11 of 18 from Kansas City last season...Duffy fell to 0-3 in four starts against the Tigers...Verlander is 14-2 in 20 career starts against the Royals and 5-0 in his last five...Verlander threw 131 pitches (85 strikes), which is one less than his career high.