The AL MVP and Triple Crown winner went 1 for 2 with a walk. He's hit two home runs this spring.
"It's nice to hit that one so early," Cabrera said. "It makes you feel good. It makes you feel everything's working good."
Papelbon, meanwhile, struggled to get anyone out in his first action of the spring. The five-time All-Star closer faced nine batters in the fifth inning and retired just two before being removed from the game.
"Papelbon got a nice little ERA today," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I'm not worried about Papelbon."
Papelbon's path to an 81.00 ERA began when Jeff Kobernus led off with a single and Nick Castellanos followed with a home run for a 2-1 lead. Three of the next four batters reached, on a walk and two singles.
With Detroit ahead 3-1, Cabrera hit a drive that cleared the Phillies' bullpen beyond the left-field fence.
"With a runner in scoring position with one out, I try to hit the ball in the gap, I try not to kill the inning with a ground-ball double play right there," Cabrera said. "It was like my goal to try to elevate the ball, try to hit the gap."
Two batters after serving up the homer, Papelbon was pulled.
He gave up six runs on five hits and two walks. Papelbon also struck out two.
"I felt good," said Papelbon, who wasn't worried about the results. "I'm more concerned about repeating my delivery, throwing the ball out front. That's really it for me. Everything else kind of falls by the wayside and will come as spring goes on."
While Papelbon shook off a rough outing, Cliff Lee looked in midseason form in his own spring debut.
Lee, a former Cy Young Award winner and three-time All-Star, pitched two hitless innings. He had only one blemish, a walk to Cabrera with two outs in the first inning.
Lee got called third strikes on each of the last two hitters he faced.
"I was just out there getting some reps and trying to work on locating pitches," he said.
Philadelphia 1B Ryan Howard went 2 for 2 with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. All three of his at-bats came against left-handers -- Howard hit just .173 against lefties last year. ... Phillies RHP Mike Stutes made his first appearance in a game since last April; he missed the majority of the 2012 season recovering from shoulder surgery. Stutes faced six batters in the sixth inning, giving up two runs on one hit and two walks. ... RHP Tyler Cloyd, who made six starts for the Phillies in September, pitched two hitless innings in relief of Lee. Cloyd walked one and struck out one. ... Phils RHP Kyle Kendrick will make his spring debut on Tuesday in Clearwater against the New York Yankees. ... Detroit OF Andy Dirks was available but manager Jim Leyland decided not to rush him back into action. Dirks was a late scratch from Sunday's starting lineup with a minor side strain. Dirks could return to the lineup on Tuesday, when the Tigers travel to Kissimmee to play the Houston Astros. ... Detroit LHP Darin Downs struck out three of the seven batters he faced in two innings. ... Tigers RHP Doug Fister will make his first start of the spring on Tuesday.