DETROIT (AP) -- Miguel Cabrera's left hip has been bothering him all season, leading to him lumbering when he runs.
He earned the right to take his time trotting around the bases twice Tuesday night.
Cabrera hit two homers for his first time with Detroit and finished 4-for-4, helping the Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 9-2.
"I got the ball good," he said. "We win the game, that's more important."
Detroit leads the majors with 21 wins since June 7.
Cabrera has been one of the players helping the Tigers turn their season around.
He is batting .340 with seven homers -- half of his total -- over the last 25 games. He had a slow start with his new team after hitting at a staggering pace for the Florida Marlins.
"He's just doing what he's always done," Thames said.
The defending AL Central-champion Indians (37-52) have dropped nine straight, their longest losing streak since 2004.
"It's dominoing on us a bit," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "We've got to work that much harder to snap out of it."
The latest setback was the first of the post-CC Sabathia era.
Sabathia, who officially was sent to Milwaukee on Monday for three prospects and a player to be named, rejected Cleveland's $72 million, four-year extension offer during spring training and announced he wouldn't negotiate until after the season.
Cabrera is starting to show why the Tigers signed him to an eight-year contract worth about $152 million. They gave him the fourth-largest deal among current major leaguers after acquiring him with Dontrelle Willis last winter from Florida for six prospects.
The four-time All-Star averaged 32 homers and 115 RBIs while hitting .318 the previous four seasons, putting up numbers in those three categories rivaled by just Albert Pujols and Vladimir Guerrero since 2004.
Mel Ott and Jimmie Foxx are only players in baseball history who hit like Cabrera did before the age of 25, but both Hall of Famers were in their teens when they broke into the bigs in the 1920s.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland said it simply took Cabrera time to adjust to playing in a new league with high expectations that accompanied his contract.
"He's going to be fine and he's going to be a great Tiger for a long time," Leyland said. "I think he's starting to just warm up."
Cabrera was criticized while with the Marlins for his lack of conditioning, but the 6-foot-4, 240-pound slugger reported to spring training with the Tigers slimmed down.
Some seem to think Cabrera, who had three different candy bars in his locker Tuesday, has added weight during the season, but Leyland bristles at the notion.
"Last year, he weighed 25 or 30 pounds heavier and hit .400," Leyland said.
Cabrera actually didn't reach that magical batting average, but he did hit .320 with 34 homers and 119 RBIs last season.
Jeremy Sowers (0-5) took Sabathia's turn in the rotation and was roughed up after getting through the first two innings unscathed. Sowers gave up seven runs -- six earned -- and 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings.
"They hit some pitches I thought were some good pitches," Sowers said.
The left-hander hit both sides of the plate on the fastballs that Cabrera sent over the left- and right-field fences.
"If you leave it 1 inch on the plate he'll get it," Sowers said.
Cabrera capped the four-run third with a two-run homer -- a pitch after Thames' RBI double -- on a swing that looked simply effortless.
Thames 17th homer, a two-run shot, put Detroit ahead 6-2 in the fifth inning. Curtis Granderson's second RBI of the gave Detroit a five-run cushion in the sixth.
Cabrera's second homer came on an 0-2 count on a low-and-outside pitch that he hit to opposite field over the right-field fence in the seventh and Rodriguez also hit a solo homer in the inning to give Detroit a 9-2 lead.
It was much more support than Verlander needed.
After Casey Blake hit a double and Jhonny Peralta followed with a two-run homer in the first inning, Verlander didn't give up another hit and struck out seven before exiting with a huge lead after seven innings.
"We took the lead early and were completely shut down after that," Wedge said.
The 2006 AL Rookie of the Year is 4-0 in his last six stars -- giving up two or fewer earned runs in each outing -- after starting the year 2-9.
"I didn't dwell on the results I wasn't getting because I knew I wasn't throwing as good as I can," Verlander said.
RHP Fausto Carmona (hip) threw Tuesday but the Indians won't bring him back at least until after the All-Star Game. ... Detroit 1B Carlos Guillen spent Tuesday with his wife and their daughter, who was born Monday. "What did he name her? Leyland?" Detroit's manager joked. ... Tigers OF Magglio Ordonez said his pulled oblique is improving and expects to be OK to play when eligible to be activated from the DL next week. ... Leyland said Sunday's 15-inning win at Seattle was one of the most boring games he's ever seen "I'd rather watch the Perrysburg water tower rust," said Leyland, referring to his hometown in Ohio. "But it turned out great. I even had a beer after the game and I don't drink beer." ... Cleveland OF Grady Sizemore stole a base, becoming the second Indians player to have 100 career homers and steals with the club. Joe Carter (1984-89) was the first.