KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The mental hiatus operated as the most critical interval provided by this week’s All-Star break, a welcomed chance for the Royals to emotionally reset. To take a break. To escape. And with four days absent baseball, some players said they didn’t even think about the game once.

In their return Friday, they offered a new-look lineup, highlighted by a long-awaited debut.

And a fresh result, too.

The Royals opened the second half of the season with an 8-5 comeback win against the visiting Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium.

Before the game, the Royals summoned 2011 first-round pick Bubba Starling from Class AAA Omaha. In his MLB debut eight years after graduating Gardner Edgerton High School, Starling finished 0 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.

Martin Maldonado hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh for the Royals, a 372-foot pop that crept over the left-field fencing. Jorge Soler added a no-doubter for insurance one inning later. The bullpen allowed only one run over the final seven innings after Danny Duffy needed to exit early with a minor injury.

Those were the headlines. But Starling had his moment, too. His place in the lineup prompted 4,119 people to buy tickets Friday, the highest single-day ticket sale of the year. With parents, family members and friends also among the more than 25,000 total in the Kauffman Stadium seats, Starling walked into a major-league batters’ box for the first time to an Ozzy Osbourne track and a standing ovation in the second inning. He spent his childhood attending Royals games. In his initial plate appearance, he saw five pitches and didn’t remove the bat from his shoulder, content to take a walk. He scored two batters later, aggressively taking home as a throw dribbled a few feet behind Tigers first baseman Brandon Dixon on what could have been an inning-ending double play.

Maldonado and Soler provided the action late, but the early innings had plenty, too. The teams totaled nine runs by the end of the third. Duffy was knocked around and then knocked out of the game during the Tigers’ three-run third inning. A 71-mph comebacker flicked his throwing hand off the bat of Victor Reyes. Duffy left the game two batters later after a walk and a couple of hard-hit balls, though X-rays taken at the stadium were negative, the team announced. He is considered day-to-day. His final line: two innings, six hits, four earned runs and two walks.

Down two after his departure, the Royals responded with three runs in the bottom of the third, all of them with two outs. Soler drove in one with a double into the gap before Cheslor Cuthbert directed a hanging change-up 400 feet into the left-field seats to give the Royals a 5-4 edge.

On the mound, Jorge Lopez and the bullpen stabilized the vacancy. In his most productive outing of the season, Lopez threw three shutout innings, allowing just two base runners while striking out three. Of the 41 pitches he threw, 31 found the strike zone. The bullpen gave up just three hits while recording 21 outs.

The Tigers tied the game at 5-5 just one inning after Duffy left, with Reyes depositing a two-out run-scoring blooper to center field in front of Starling. It was the lone blip against the bullpen.