The Tigers' first baseman went 8-for-14 over those first three games and drove in seven of the team's 16 runs. He became just the second player in franchise history with seven hits and seven RBIs through the season's first three games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It's select company, with Hall of Famer Harry Heilmann the other to have done it, back in 1923.
"I've said all along when he masters not giving at-bats away, there's no telling what he can do," manager Jim Leyland said of Cabrera, who went 4-for-7 with both of his homers coming with two strikes in that opening series.
"You can't leave pitches out over the plate, and even when you crowd him inside, you've got to crowd him off the plate and hope he offers at it," Royals manger Trey Hillman said. "And after you've felt like you've got him sped up, you've got to get slower and lower. And if you don't hit your spots, it's obvious."
The Indians seemed to understand the concept in the opener of their three-game set in Detroit. Though they lost the game, it wasn't Cabrera who hurt them. He went 0-for-3 with a walk against starter David Huff and reliever Jamey Wright. He left three runners on base.
Cleveland's Saturday starter, Mitch Talbot, doesn't have much of a track record against Cabrera, or any of Detroit's lineup, for that matter. The two have faced each other in just two at-bats. Cabrera has one hit in those two trips.
Though he took the collar on Friday afternoon, don't expect his bat to stay quiet all weekend. Cabrera has hit the Indians well over time, going 22-for-66 (.333) with seven homers, a .712 slugging percentage and 23 RBIs.
Of course, the Indians have other hitters to worry about. After going 2-for-4 with a double and RBI in Friday's win, Tigers No. 3 hitter Magglio Ordonez has gone 9-for-18 with three extra-base hits over four games. He's batted .317 against Tribe pitching, including a hit in the only time he's faced Talbot.
Indians: Regulars back in action?
Outfielder Austin Kearns and first baseman Andy Marte got their first starts on Friday afternoon. Kearns started in left and went 1-for-3 with a walk. Marte scored a run and drew a walk, but went 0-for-2. It was a matter of keeping the bench fresh, along with making sure Matt LaPorta, coming off of offseason surgeries, stays healthy.
Expect LaPorta, who went 4-for-11 with a pair of doubles in the opening series against the White Sox, to be back at first on Saturday. He should be joined by Michael Brantley back in left, who has started the season 3-for-10 and is expected to get the bulk of the playing time in left, at least until Russell Branyan is ready to come back.
Tigers: A-Jax off to quick start
Austin Jackson had the chance to join some elite company on Friday. Had he come through with an extra-base hit, it would've been the fourth straight game he'd done so to start his Major League career. He and catcher Alex Avila are the only Tigers to begin their big league careers with extra-base hits in three straight games since 1920. A fourth would have put him on a list with Enos Slaughter, Coco Laboy and Jason Bay as the only players since 1920 to begin their big league careers with an extra-base hit in four or more straight games.
Alas, Jackson merely singled, walked, stole a base and scored two runs on Friday. That still gives him a solid four-game hitting streak to kick off his career. He's hitting 6-for-18 so far with three RBIs and four runs scored as the club's leadoff hitter.
The Indians have now lost seven straight games to the Tigers (five in a row in Detroit). ... The last time the Indians were above .500 (before beginning this year 2-1) was the second-to-last day of the 2008 season. They were never at or above .500 at any point in 2009. ... Indians DH Travis Hafner is now tied for 10th on the Indians' all-time homer list at 163 with Ken Keltner. ... Tigers SS Adam Everett now has three hits over his team's first four games. That leaves him just one shy of his total from all of Spring Training, where he went 4-for-48.
Sat, 4/10 1:05 PM ET
Tigers get look at retro Bonderman
Jeremy Bonderman pitched well enough to claim something he hasn't earned in nearly two years: a Major League victory. Bonderman struck out five over five innings, allowing just one run on one hit while walking two.
|Cabrera, A, SS||4||1||1||0||0||2||0||.333|
|Sizemore, G, CF||3||0||0||0||0||3||1||.273|
|Peralta, Jh, 3B||3||0||0||0||1||1||3||.188|
TB: Cabrera, A; Hafner 2.
RBI: Hafner (2).
2-out RBI: Hafner.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: LaPorta; Peralta, Jh.
Team RISP: 1-for-4.
Team LOB: 6.
DP: 2 (Cabrera, A-Grudzielanek-LaPorta, Peralta, Jh-LaPorta).
HR: Ordonez (2, 1st inning off Talbot, 1 on, 1 out).
TB: Damon; Ordonez 4; Cabrera, Mi; Inge 2; Everett.
RBI: Ordonez 2 (4), Inge (3), Sizemore, S (1).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Sizemore, S 2; Avila 2.
SF: Sizemore, S.
GIDP: Everett; Cabrera, Mi.
Team RISP: 1-for-5.
Team LOB: 9.
CS: Everett (1, 2nd base by Talbot/Marson).
WP: Bonderman, Thomas, B.
IBB: Guillen (by Smith, J).
HBP: Avila (by Sipp), Sizemore, G (by Ni, F), Choo (by Ni, F).
Pitches-strikes: Talbot 104-55, Sipp 18-8, Smith, J 22-8, Lewis 14-9, Bonderman 91-59, Thomas, B 42-25, Ni, F 11-7, Perry 12-11.
Groundouts-flyouts: Talbot 6-2, Sipp 0-2, Smith, J 1-0, Lewis 0-0, Bonderman 4-2, Thomas, B 4-0, Ni, F 1-0, Perry 2-0.
Batters faced: Talbot 24, Sipp 5, Smith, J 5, Lewis 3, Bonderman 18, Thomas, B 9, Ni, F 4, Perry 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Smith, J 1-0, Perry 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Angel Campos. 1B: Brian Gorman. 2B: Tony Randazzo. 3B: Paul Nauert.
Weather: 50 degrees, sunny.
Wind: 14 mph, R to L.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media