KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Brennan Boesch came through too late for Rick Porcello. His hit came just in time for the Detroit Tigers, though.
"I just didn't want to do too much," Boesch said. "I just wanted to make sure I was under control and just try to play pepper back up the middle. I wanted to do that."
The Tigers extended their lead in the AL Central to four games over the Cleveland Indians, who lost in extra innings around the same time the Tigers were winning.
Porcello, who had won his previous five starts, took a 3-0 lead into the seventh.
"Every time he goes out there now, we really feel we're going to win," Boesch said. "He's really been pitching well. He's been growing all season long, getting better as the year goes on. That's what we need from him. He's stepping up big.
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Wilson Betemit led off the 10th with a walk and pinch-runner Andy Dirks took second on a wild pitch by Aaron Crow (3-3) with one out.
Daniel Schlereth (1-1) worked two scoreless innings and Jose Valverde pitched the bottom of the 10th for his 31st straight save.
Manager Jim Leyland pulled Porcello after he gave up a run on three singles with one out in the seventh.
"I feel bad for Rick," Leyland said. "He deserved to get a win. He was fantastic. I'm sorry he didn't get a win."
Austin Jackson and Boesch opened the game with back-to-back triples in the Tigers' two-run first inning. Alex Avila tacked on a solo homer in the fifth.
Johnny Giavotella made his debut for the Royals and hit an RBI single before scoring the tying run on Alcides Escobar's single in the seventh.
Royals starter Felipe Paulino gave up three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking two.
Rick Porcello had a string of wins in five straight starts snapped. He left with one out in the seventh after giving up Giavotella's RBI single.
Phil Coke came on, gave up an RBI single to Mike Moustakas, and left. David Pauley gave up Escobar's tying hit to center field.
"The team got the win and that's the biggest thing," Porcello said. "Obviously, it's nice for yourself personally to get a win, but we got the win and started the series off to a good start. That's the bottom line, the most important thing. I definitely had plenty left in tank. The skipper wanted to go with a lefty-lefty matchup. That's his call."
Giavotella went 2 for 3 in his big league debut, with a double, a walk a steal and a run in addition to his RBI single.
"I had some jitters coming into the game, some butterflies here and there, but after that first ground ball I calmed down and felt comfortable out there," Giavotella said. "On the double, I looked up into the stands and saw my dad. He gave a little fist pump and I gave one back to him. It was a nice moment."
The Tigers began a stretch Friday where they are playing 12 of 15 games against AL Central opponents. .Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera singled in the fourth for his 80th hit in 65 games against the Royals. .Royals DH Billy Butler extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a seventh inning leadoff single.. The Royals optioned INF Yamaico Navarro, who they acquired in a trade to Omaha to make roster space for Giavotella. .The Royals fell to 10-7 in extra-inning games. .RHP Justin Verlander, who starts Saturday, is seven strikeouts shy of tying Denny McClain (1,150) for ninth place on the Tigers career list. Verlander will be seeking his 99th career win.. LHP Danny Duffy, scheduled to start for the Royals on Saturday, has struck out 40 in 37 1/3 innings in his past six starts. In his first six, Duffy struck out just 20 in 30 1/3 innings in his first six starts.