DETROIT — For two weeks, Jarrod Washburn thought he needed to earn his spot in the rotation with the Detroit Tigers.
He took care of that on Friday night.
After struggling in two starts since being acquired from Seattle on July 31, Washburn matched Zack Greinke in a scoreless duel before Brandon Inge's ninth-inning homer gave the Tigers a 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
"I finally feel like I've done something to become part of the team," said Washburn, who had an 8.74 ERA since coming to Detroit. "I'm getting comfortable with the team and with (catcher) Gerald (Laird) and I had everything working for me tonight."
With one out in the ninth, Inge hit a 2-1 pitch from Roman Colon (1-2) into the bullpens in left field for his 23rd home run.
"Any homer is fun, but hitting one to win a game is something special," said Inge, who came into the game hitting .188 since playing in his first All-Star game. "I felt a little better tonight, but I feel a heck of a lot better now. Winning a game like that will do that."
Colon has allowed at least one run in his last five outings and saw his ERA rise to 6.00.
"He was the most rested guy we had in the bullpen," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "He just left a fastball up to a guy where you can't do that."
Inge went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against Greinke, so he was pleased to be facing his former teammate in the ninth.
"Greinke was pretty dominant tonight, so you're happy to see anyone else out there," he said. "He's inventing new stuff out there. He threw me a 95 mph cutter that looked like Mariano Rivera's — I'd never seen that from him before."
Brandon Lyon (6-4) picked up the win with one inning of relief as the Tigers extended their scoreless streak to 21 innings.
"That was just a great baseball game," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "We had a big crowd and they got to see great pitching, great defense, and a homer to win it. That's pretty much a perfect night for our fans."
Greinke pitched seven innings, allowing three hits and a season-high four walks. He struck out six.
"I don't usually walk four batters — I felt fine, but I wasn't as sharp as I've been," he said. "It was a close game, and Washburn did a real good job of keeping us down."
Washburn gave up three hits and two walks in eight innings.
"That's the Jarrod Washburn we traded for," Leyland said. "That was big, because when you are facing a guy like Greinke, you can have a good outing, give up two or three runs and you are probably going to lose. He didn't give the Royals anything."
Neither team had a hit until Curtis Granderson of the Tigers doubled with two outs in the third. The Royals didn't get their first hit until Brayan Pena bounced a single past a diving Inge at third base with two outs in the fifth.
The Tigers put two runners on three times between the fourth and seventh innings, aided by three walks and an error, but Greinke got out of all three jams.
The Royals had their only good scoring chance in the eighth. Mark Teahen led off with a single, took second on Pena's sacrifice bunt and moved to third on Alex Gordon's groundout.
Yuniesky Betancourt walked, putting runners on the corners, but David DeJesus bounced out to second to end the inning.
"There wasn't much offense, but that was a great game," Hillman said. "Both pitchers did an excellent job."
NOTES: Tigers LHP Dontrelle Willis (anxiety disorder) is scheduled to make a rehab start Monday for Triple-A Toledo. ... Greinke struck out the side in the first inning on 11 pitches. ... Greinke has four starts this season where he has not won despite allowing one run or less. ... Granderson, who entered the game with a .129 career average against Greinke, went 2 for 3 with a walk.