Cabrera drove in Detroit's lone run off Jordan Zimmermann with an RBI single through the middle, but it was his groundout to short in his next at-bat that had Tigers fans abuzz, wondering if Cabrera was trying to hide an injury.
Cabrera did not show any sign of being limited in the eighth inning, when he flew out to center, or at third base.
After the game, he confirmed he's playing through an issue, but downplayed the severity.
"My back was tight, a little sore," Cabrera said Wednesday night. "My lower back. It's no big deal. I was able to play nine innings with that. Hopefully tomorrow, I'll work out, be able to stretch and be ready to play."
Manager Jim Leyland also downplayed any issue Wednesday night, saying simply that he's fine.
Cabrera reported to Nationals Park early on Thursday for treatment. He said before the series finale that he's feeling OK, and he was in his usual spot in the lineup.
Cabrera said he has been playing through the issue for the past few days. It has not shown so far in his hitting; he batted 11-for-16 with runners in scoring position over his last 11 games entering Thursday.
The Tigers return to Detroit for a six-game homestand beginning Friday night, then hit the road for Texas and Cleveland, so they'll have the DH spot available to get Cabrera out of the field for a day without removing his bat from the lineup if Leyland so chooses. The downside is it would essentially replace DH Victor Martinez in the lineup with a reserve third baseman, either Don Kelly, Matt Tuiasosopo or Ramon Santiago.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.