Finally, with his ninth offering of the at-bat, the rookie struck out the slugger with a nifty slider.
"He's not afraid to throw the ball," catcher Miguel Olivo said. "No matter who's hitting, he just goes and gets him."
The 22-year-old Pineda was particularly impressive at the start, fanning the first four hitters he faced, including Cabrera to begin the second inning.
Afterward, the 6-foot-7 righty had a big grin on his face when asked about that matchup.
"He's a pretty good hitter," Pineda said. "I'm focused and threw the ball down -- my slider down. No mistakes, because he has a lot of power."
Ichiro Suzuki added two hits and Justin Smoak hit an RBI double in the fourth inning that put Seattle ahead to stay. The Mariners swept a three-game set against Detroit for the first time since July 2003.
Pineda (4-1) allowed a couple runs in the second inning, but he was overpowering at times. Brad Penny (1-3) gave up four runs on nine hits and a walk for the Tigers. He struck out three.
Pineda allowed four hits and three walks in his fifth career start. This was actually the most earned runs he'd given up since his debut April 5, and his ERA rose from 1.78 to 2.01. That was small consolation for the Tigers.
"That guy was nasty," Detroit catcher Alex Avila said. "He's going from 94-99 on his fastball, plus a slider and a split-finger, and he's throwing all three of them for strikes. He's going to be tough on everyone."
Suzuki hit an RBI double in the third, and Chone Figgins drove home a run with a ground ball. Smoak gave the Mariners the lead in the fourth, and Olivo added a solo homer leading off the sixth to make it 4-2.
"He threw me a breaking ball," Olivo said. "A hanging breaking ball, and I hit it."
It was a far cry from Penny's last start, a dominant outing against the White Sox in which he allowed one hit through seven innings.
Rodriguez broke it open in the eighth with a three-run shot off Ryan Perry -- the infielder's ninth career homer and first since July 24, 2009.
Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge had the day off for Detroit. The Tigers started only four right-handed hitters against Pineda, but it was no use. He breezed through the first inning on 12 pitches and then struck out Cabrera.
Magglio Ordonez struck out three times -- twice against Pineda. He's now hitting .172.
"Against that guy, that can happen to anyone," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Maggs isn't quite sharp yet, but he's getting a lot of at-bats and he's getting them against good pitchers. That's not going to help his average right now, but it will help him a lot later. He's a pro, and he's going to hit."
The Mariners outscored Detroit 24-6 in the series.
Suzuki already has 12 multihit games, and Olivo continued his torrid stretch against Detroit. The Seattle catcher has just 17 hits on the season -- but 10 have been against the Tigers.
Pineda threw 101 pitches. ... The Tigers were preparing to bus to their next series at Cleveland, which is only about a 170-mile drive from Detroit. "I'm really looking forward to it," Leyland said. "I think it makes a lot of sense. I think it's a great idea." ... Seattle second baseman Jack Wilson left the game in the fifth with irritation of the right eye.