Benoit, who had a 1.33 earned run average in 27 appearances after the All-Star break last year, struck out the side while allowing one hit in Detroit's 3-1 win over the Royals.
. "He was terrific," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
Not even a misplay in the outfield could fluster Benoit.
With two outs, right fielder Brennan Boesch tried to make a play on Jeff Francouer's liner, which looked like a routine single. Boesch came up well short with his diving attempt and the ball rolled past him for a triple.
But Benoit promptly fanned Mike Moustakas, leaving closer Jose Valverde with a two-run lead to work with in the ninth.