Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Will Rhymes' two-run homer in the sixth served as the go-ahead runs, and Alex Avila blasted a solo shot in the eighth for insurance, as Detroit got by Kansas City, 7-5, in the opener of a three-game set.
Rhymes had to wait for his first career homer as the umpiring crew reviewed whether it cleared the wall in right field above the yellow line. Avila paced the offense with three hits, three RBI and two runs scored for the Tigers, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the White Sox.
Reigning AL Cy Young winner Zach Greinke (9-13) was denied a chance at double- digit wins, charged with six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits in six innings.
Detroit got out to a quick 4-0 lead after three innings thanks to a trio of clutch base hits. Ramon Santiago slapped a two-out single to left in the second to plate the game's first run, and Miguel Cabrera was at the back end of three straight singles to open the third for a 2-0 lead.
Avila later sent a base hit into right field with the bases loaded, scoring Don Kelly and Cabrera.
But the Tigers had to play from behind after the Royals put together a five- run fifth. Brayan Pena and Alex Gordon started things off with back-to-back singles and Betancourt found the seats in left to make it a one-run game.
The visitors weren't done there, as three consecutive singles by Mitch Maier, Gregor Blanco and Mike Aviles loaded the bases with nobody out. Billy Butler hit into a double play that scored a run, and Wilson Betemit's infield hit chased home another.
Kansas City had a chance for more in the sixth, chasing Porcello with one out and two aboard. Thomas came on to strike out Maier, but walked Blanco to load the bases, before Aviles fouled out to end the inning.
Avila began the home sixth with a base hit and Rhymes sent a two-out drive deep to right that hit above the wall but caromed back onto the field off a stretch of fencing that extends above the wall at Comerica Park. Avila added to the lead in the eighth with a deep fly off Jesse Chavez.
Greinke fell to 11-6 lifetime versus Detroit...Porcello had won his last four starts...The Tigers have won nine of 16 over the Royals this year...Betemit collected three hits. Betancourt continues to improve on a career-year with 16 home runs and 74 RBI. His previous top marks were nine homers and 67 RBI...Avila's home run was his sixth of the season.