Cabrera went 0-for-2 before being tossed by home-plate umpire Tim Timmons, after grounding into a double play to end the disputed at-bat. Timmons had moved over from first base in the second inning after Jeff Kellogg was forced to leave when hit in the mask on a foul ball from Torii Hunter.
"To be honest with you, I believe the injury to the umpire got them on edge a little bit," manager Jim Leyland said. "Working with three, all of a sudden in a big game and big series, I think it just got out of sorts a little bit. As the game went on, I thought he called a pretty good game."
Leyland came out to argue with the umpires after Cabrera was ejected before heading back to the dugout. He said both parties were out of line, with Cabrera saying something and with the umpire looking at him in the dugout.
"Miggy just got caught in the cookie jar because he said something which was offensive," Leyland said. "I understand that. Sometimes if the manager, umpire or the player just go about their business and look the other way, a lot of times things are squelched. They don't have to flare up like that."
The Tigers were trailing by 5-1 when Cabrera was ejected, thanks to a four-run first inning by the Angels.
"I'm kind of frustrated right now because we are in the middle of a pennant race," said Cabrera, who added he doesn't like to argue balls and strikes. "It can happen. It's complicated, but we've got to move on and do anything to win games."
"I don't like to talk bad about umpires. Their job is a tough job like us."
Shortstop Danny Worth moved over to third base and Jhonny Peralta entered the game at short following the ejection.
Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.