DETROIT Brandon Inge was at home, packing in preparation to move. He figured it would be an easy day at the ballpark. Then catcher Ivan Rodriguez was pulled from the lineup because of inflammation in his right wrist, and Inge was in the game.
Inge hit a two-run homer and Jason Johnson pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning, leading the Detroit Tigers over the Kansas City Royals, 2-0, Wednesday night.
"I was just kicking back today," Inge said. "It was kind of a shock."
Johnson (4-6) worked around nine hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked none and struck out three.
"He made the pitches when he needed to," Kansas City's Joe Randa said. "We left some guys out there. He did a good job when he needed to."
Johnson was pulled in favor of Danny Patterson after Ken Harvey's two-out single in the eighth. Patterson then got Matt Stairs to fly out.
"In the first four innings, I was cutting my pitches," said Johnson. "After that, I tried to cut down on the cutters and the speed came back on the fastball. The changeup was my most important pitch today."
Ugueth Urbina pitched the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.
Rookie Zack Greinke (0-1) lost his first major-league decision. He gave up six hits in seven innings.
"Greinke made only one mistake," Royals manager Tony Pena said.
That was Inge's fifth homer as he hit a 3-2 pitch down the left-field line after a two-out single by Eric Munson.
"The pressure is off of him," Detroit bench coach Kirk Gibson said. "He loves playing all the positions. The kid is always ready."
The Tigers loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth on Carlos Guillen's one-out triple, a walk to Dmitri Young with two out and a catcher's interference call, which allowed Carlos Pena to reach base. But Craig Monroe grounded out to end the inning.
Kansas City had two runners on with one out in the third after singles by Kelly Stinnett and Desi Relaford. But Carlos Beltran flied out and Mike Sweeney ended the inning by grounding into a force play.
The Royals also had runners on first and second with two outs in the fifth after singles by Stinnett and Beltran. Sweeney again made the final out, on a fly ball.
"We never got the big hit," Pena said.
Notes: Royals C Benito Santiago did not play because of a sore thumb. ... Tigers manager Alan Trammell missed his second consecutive game because of a flu virus. Pitching coach Bob Cluck and Gibson ran the team. ... Guillen's third-inning triple was the 500th hit of his career. ... Harvey was 2-for-4, stretching his hitting streak to 11 games (24-for-45).