Cabrera went 3-for-4, hit a two-run home run to begin the scoring off Jake Peavy in the first inning and scored another run as the club broke the contest open in the seventh. He did it, basically, on one leg.
"Man, that just shows you what type of hitter that guy is," center fielder Austin Jackson said. "Have a little thing bothering him and he's still going out there and putting swings on balls and still getting hits."
For Jackson, even out in center field, he can tell the right ankle is nagging Cabrera.
"You can tell he's not as agile as he was earlier on," Jackson said. "At the same time, I'm thinking he's doing the things necessary so he can get out there and play with it."
Still, Cabrera is taking some heat for not sprinting out a game-ending, 4-6-3 double play that led to the Tigers being swept in Kansas City. Cabrera appeared to slow up on the play. Had he been going full speed, he likely would've been safe with Prince Fielder up next, down by one with a man on third.
Before manager Jim Leyland defended his player -- he said Cabrera gives "a great effort every single day, every day for however many years he's been there," -- he explained what he saw on the last at-bat against the Royals.
"Exactly what happened was, that ball that he hit was real close to the bag," Leyland said. "It was, for sure, probably a routine [play], because there were guys on first and second. That was his first reaction when it was hit. The foot's hurting, then he realized what was going on and he tried to get after it.
"He wasn't dogging it, contrary to what people want to make of it. I think it was so close to the bag, it looked like a simple boom-boom [play]."
Cabrera is the reigning American League batting champion and he is a favorite in the AL Most Valuable Player race this season with Angels outfielder Mike Trout. He is batting .329 with 33 home runs, 109 RBIs and 86 runs scored. And what he's done the past couple of weeks, he's done hurt.
However, the 29-year-old understands the criticism.
"People are always going to say negative things. They say you got to run hard to first, but that's the price you got to take," he said. "That's the price you got to take when you play hurt. What are you going to do, you know? Can't do nothing. Just take the hate last night."