CLEVELAND -- Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera's right ankle figures to be sore for the rest of the season. His arms, however, remain as strong as ever.
Cabrera hit two home runs, drove in three runs and had four hits Monday, powering Detroit to a 12-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians. His 29th career multihomer game helped the Tigers pull 1 1/2 games ahead of the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Detroit remains a half-game behind the Royals in the AL Central after Kansas City won on Monday night.
"We won, that's the most important thing right now," said Cabrera, who went 4-for-5 and scored four times. "What I did was fine, but we won, so that makes it even better."
The two-time reigning AL MVP left the Tigers' game Saturday against the White Sox when his ankle flared up, then sat out the series finale in Chicago on Sunday.
Cabrera returned to action in the Labor Day matinee as the designated hitter, while Victor Martinez flip-flopped with him to play first base. The strategy worked perfectly as both players homered in the first three innings, as did J.D. Martinez, off Indians ace Corey Kluber.
Detroit wound up with a season-high five home runs when Cabrera went deep off Bryan Price in the eighth and Tyler Collins hit his first big league blast in the ninth off Austin Adams.
Cabrera's initial homer was his first since Aug. 2, while his second moved him into a tie with Harold Baines for 61st place on the all-time home run list with 384. He also upped his average against Kluber to .566 over 30 career at-bats.
"Miggy looked good, obviously, but we had guys hit up and down our lineup today," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, whose squad had 20 hits. "It had been a while for him in terms of home runs, so who knows, maybe this is a flashpoint for him."
Detroit left-hander David Price (13-10), who leads the AL with 210 1/3 innings and 232 strikeouts, allowed one run in seven frames to snap his two-game losing streak. Price scattered eight hits and struck out eight, improving to 2-2 in six starts since being acquired from Tampa Bay on July 31. He is 6-1 with a 2.86 ERA in eight career outings against the Indians.
"He's been pitching for a while now, and he knows what he's doing," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "He's got the stuff to go with it. We had hits; it's just hard, because he's really good."
The Tigers battered Kluber (13-9) for five runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander ranks third in the AL in innings and strikeouts, but he saw his ERA rise to 2.72 in his shortest start of the year.
Price was pleased with the way his teammates responded to the challenge.
"Our offense did a great job against Kluber, getting two runs in the first and a couple more in the next two innings," he said. "That made my job a little bit easier, for sure."
Nick Castellanos added three singles for the Tigers, while Alex Avila and Victor Martinez both had a pair of hits and drove in a pair of runs.
Detroit right fielder Steven Moya made his big league debut in the ninth, singling as a pinch-hitter. The Eastern League MVP was recalled from Double-A Erie earlier in the day.
Catcher James McCann also played in his first Major League contest for Detroit, entering as a defensive replacement in the ninth.
"This was a day that Moya and McCann will never forget, and it was nice for Tyler to hit his first home run up here," Ausmus said. "You always enjoy a game like that. We were pitching good, hitting good. It was a lot of fun."
The Indians' lone tally occurred in the first when Carlos Santana doubled home Michael Brantley. Al Alburquerque and Jim Johnson pitched one scoreless inning apiece in relief of Price.
Brian Dulik is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.