Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first inning off T.J. House (0-1) and J.D. Martinez added an insurance solo shot in the ninth as the Tigers finished off a series sweep, improving to 18-5 in Cleveland since 2013.
Cabrera went 4 for 4 with his first two homers of the season, a double and single. Needing a triple for the cycle, Indians manager Terry Francona intentionally walked him in the eighth even though there was a runner on first.
It’s the first time Detroit is 6-0 since 1985.
The Tigers jumped to a 6-0 lead after two innings, giving Kyle Lobstein (1-0) a comfortable cushion. Joakim Soria worked the ninth for his second save.
The Indians had a rough opening weekend at home in their spectacularly remodeled ballpark. In addition to being swept by the AL Central’s reigning champions, All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley missed two games with a back issue and Cleveland lost catcher Yan Gomes for at least six weeks with a sprained knee.
Cabrera pounds Indians pitching like no one else. He went 11 of 14 (.786) with two homers and six RBIs in the three-game series, and raised his average from .182 to .520.
For his career, the slugger is batting .357 with 37 homers and 118 RBIs in 133 games against the Indians, who haven’t figured out a way to even slow him down.
After the Indians pulled within 6-3, Cabrera led off the fourth with his second homer.
The top of Detroit’s lineup did the majority of the early damage, as the Tigers top five hitters went 6 for 6 with six runs, a homer and three walks in the first two innings.
Detroit didn’t let House get out of the second, rocking the left-hander for six runs and six hits in 1 1-3 innings – the shortest outing of his career.
Cabrera put the Tigers up 3-0 in the first with a 410-foot shot onto the pedestrian plaza in left. No injuries were reported.
Cabrera followed with his first homer this season, a no-doubt-about-it shot that drew a few gasps from Cleveland fans.
Tigers: DH Victor Martinez was in the lineup despite leaving Saturday’s game in the seventh inning with a left leg injury. Martinez appeared to hurt himself on an overswing. He hit an RBI single and gingerly jogged to first before he was replaced by a pinch runner. Martinez has had multiple surgeries on his left knee, most recently in February.
Indians: Brantley missed his fourth game with a back issue. Francona said Brantley felt ”slightly better” after resting Saturday and believes two more days – the Indians are off Monday – of rest will help. Francona remains hopeful Brantley won’t go on the disabled list, but hasn’t ruled it out.
Tigers: RHP Anibal Sanchez starts as Detroit opens a three-game interleague series in Pittsburgh. He blanked Minnesota on three hits over 6 2-3 innings in his season debut.
Indians: After an off-day, RHP Carlos Carrasco starts the opener of a two-game home series with the White Sox. Carrasco struck out 10 in his first start last week, one day after signing a four-year, $22 million contract.
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