The Tigers scored four unearned runs in the fourth thanks to a miscue at third base by Mike Moustakas and went on to snap a four-game losing streak. Kansas City, the surprise early leader in the American League Central, had won two in a row.
Detroit trailed 4-3 heading into the fourth but put runners on first and second with one away against starter Wade Davis (2-1).
Hunter's grounder to Moustakas was then misplayed for an error, allowing one run to score. Miguel Cabrera followed with a sacrifice fly and Detroit eventually scored two more runs in the prolonged inning on a single from Victor Martinez and a bases-loaded walk to Jhonny Peralta.
Max Scherzer (2-0) survived five innings to get the win, although he was touched for five runs on seven hits. Jose Valverde, making his 2013 Tigers' debut, needed 18 pitches to throw a perfect ninth for his first save.
Kansas City came up with five straight hits in the third to score four times against Scherzer and take the early lead.