Delmon Young's RBI double and Alex Avila's run-scoring single put Detroit in front in the third and the Tigers then turned to starter Max Scherzer to hold off the Rays. Detroit handed Tampa Bay its fourth straight loss.
Cabrera singled in a run in the sixth to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead and he tacked on a solo homer in the ninth.
Scherzer (7-5) allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in six-plus innings.
James Shields (7-5) took the loss. The Tigers touched him for four runs on 14 hits in 7 2/3 innings.