DETROIT -- No matter how bad his spring was, Jason Johnson always believed he could pitch.
After running up a 7.97 spring training ERA that cost him a planned opening-day start, Johnson pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings in his first outing of the season and helped the Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 7-3 Thursday.
"I thought that was the most blown-out-of-proportion thing ever," Johnson said. "I thought spring training was for getting your mechanics straight, and that's what I was doing. By the end of the spring, that's what I had done."
Johnson allowed five hits, struck out four and walked one.
"He pitched outstanding," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "He really was the difference in the game."
The game was scoreless after five innings, but Johnson finally got some support from his offense. Rondell White homered and Ivan Rodriguez, starting his second season with Detroit, had his sixth four-hit game with the Tigers.
Johnson felt the slow offensive start helped him.
"I love having all the runs, don't get me wrong," he said. "But when you don't have them, you have to go out there and pitch the best you can."
Detroit took two of three, winning an opening series for the second consecutive season. Kansas City won the season from the Tigers 11-8 last year, its fifth straight season advantage against Detroit.
Mike Wood (0-1), the third of five Kansas City pitchers, allowed three runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Kansas City starter Zack Greinke was hit by a line drive off the bat of Detroit's Carlos Guillen, struck just above the right wrist with one out in the third inning. After being examined by team trainers, the right-hander threw some test pitches, then was replaced by Nate Field. The game was 0-0 at the time.
Kansas City said Greinke sustained a bruised forearm, and he doesn't think he will miss any starts.
"I've never been hit like that in my life," he said. "I'm usually pretty good at that play, but I never even saw the ball. At first, I was surprised that it didn't hurt, but then I realized my whole arm was numb.
"Once I started to throw, it felt better, but it wasn't worth the risk of doing further damage to something and being out for a while."
Neither team got a runner past second until White's long solo homer off Wood in the sixth. The ball hit the wall behind the left-center field stands, just below the Hal Newhouser statue, a distance estimated at 445 feet.
"It felt good -- it felt like 440 maybe," White said. "We just wanted to get a run for J. J., because he was pitching great and we weren't scoring."
Detroit added six runs in the seventh to make it 7-0. Guillen hit an RBI single, Rodriguez had a run-scoring double off third baseman Mark Teahen's glove, second baseman Tony Graffanino threw away White's grounder, which could have been an inning-ending double play, for an error as two runs scored, and Carlos Pena and Bobby Higginson added RBI singles.
"We could have gotten out of that inning on a couple grounders, but it just didn't happen," Kansas City manager Tony Pena said.
Teahen, who made his major league debut on Monday, struggled defensively throughout the series.
"In the past, he's been unbelievable out there," Pena said. "He's just having a rough stretch. That happens with young players."
Mike Sweeney hit an RBI groundout in the eighth off Ugueth Urbina.
Emil Brown hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Troy Percival, his first major league homer since May 1, 2001, for Pittsburgh against San Francisco.