"You can't leave pitches out over the plate, and even when you crowd him inside, you've got to crowd him off the plate and hope he offers at it," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "And after you've feel like you've got him sped up, you've got to get slower and lower. And if you don't hit your spots, it's obvious."
Cabrera's fourth hit on Thursday came in the ninth inning, an RBI single off Roman Colon. That came after Cabrera swung and missed on Colon's first pitch.
"Man, I got him with a slider," Colon said. "I know he can't hit a slider. And then I was trying to go in on him. And he just put the bat on it and the ball passed through the infield."
Cabrera is just one of the dangers in the middle of the Tigers' lineup.
"Their [Nos.] 2-3-4-5 hitters are very strong," said Brian Bannister, the Royals' starter Thursday. "I didn't handle them that well today. I just pitched around trouble, and Cabrera obviously is one of the best hitters in the game and you just hope things go your way when he's up there."
Bannister was touched for two singles by Cabrera, plus a homer and a single by Magglio Ordonez and a single by Carlos Guillen. Combined, those three hitters were 20-for-42 (.476) in the three-game series.
Only the No. 2 hitter, Johnny Damon, was held down. He was 2-for-14 (.143) but still managed to knock in two runs and score three.
Newcomer Scott Podsednik emerged as the Royals' top hitter in the season's first series. He was 5-for-11 (.455) thanks to his 4-for-5 on Thursday. Three of the hits came off the Tigers' big left-hander, Dontrelle Willis, back after missing much of last season because of an anxiety disorder. Thursday marked Willis' 2010 debut.
"I thought he looked good," Podsednik said. "He held us to two runs there in, what, six innings? He worked both sides of the plate. I'm sure that they're real happy with the way he threw the ball today."
And with the way Cabrera hit it.