"We came out swinging, put some runs on the board early," manager Jim Leyland said. "That let Rick relax a little bit, and he was very good against a tremendous offensive club."
Given a quick five-run lead, Porcello pitched into the seventh before allowing his only run and the Tigers beat the Texas Rangers 8-2 on Monday night in a rematch of last year's AL championship series.
After their first 12 batters, the Tigers had already roughed up Rangers rookie right-hander Justin Grimm (1-1) for six runs and eight hits in the 100-degree heat. They had only five runs and 15 hits while losing two of three in Pittsburgh over the weekend.
Cabrera drove in three runs with a pair of doubles. His two-run double started the scoring, and his RBI double in the sixth made it 8-0.
"Something I'm trying to get better at every time is to control my emotions. For me, it's control my tempo and delivery," said Porcello, who won for only the second time his last nine starts. "With the big lead, I'm trying to keep the mindset that it's a 0-0 game. If I start thinking I have a cushion, I get complacent and I'm not as good in the strike zone."
Porcello (5-5) struck out seven, the last an inning-ending whiff by Mike Napoli with the bases loaded in the sixth. He was out of the game after his third walk, to Leonys Martin leading off the seventh.
Nine days after his impressive winning major league debut against Houston, and never pitching above Double-A before that, nothing good happened for Grimm against the Tigers.
"Obviously, he got hit around by a pretty good-hitting team," manager Ron Washington said. "He threw the ball out over the plate and they hit it."
Austin Jackson led off the game with a double and Quintin Berry followed with a bunt fielded by Grimm. When the pitcher turned to throw, first base was uncovered because first baseman Michael Young charged in and second baseman Ian Kinsler didn't get there. Cabrera followed with a two-run double.
"He was getting ahead of hitters, the runs helped him settle down and get in a grove," Tigers catcher Gerald Laird said of Porcello. "He got better as the game went on."
Berry drew a leadoff walk to start the second, and Grimm was gone after Cabrera singled. Fielder greeted reliever Michael Kirkman with a sacrifice fly.
Grimm threw 52 pitches, 40 of them in a top half of the first inning that took 23 minutes to play.
Cabrera had three of Detroit's 10 hits and is a .378 career hitter at Rangers Ballpark, where he has 18 doubles and 50 RBIs in 48 games.
Struggling slugger Josh Hamilton hit his first homer in his last 12 games for Texas, a two-run shot in the seventh. His 23rd homer pushed his majors-best RBI total to 66.
Hamilton was coming off a three-game series against Colorado when he was 1 for 12 with eight strikeouts. He was 0 for 2 with a walk Monday before his 409-foot homer in the seventh off reliever Brayan Villarreal.
Porcello was gone by time Hamilton homered. The walk to Martin led to the only run against the right-hander, who scattered six hits and walked three.
Fielder had a leadoff double in the fifth and scored on Peralta's grounder along the first-base line.
Though the Tigers have struggled this season and still have a losing record (36-37), they have good offensive games at Rangers Ballpark. They had hit .301 with 176 runs in their previous 25 games there since April 2006.
Fielder, the husky first baseman who signed a $214 million, nine-year deal with the Tigers last winter after having some talks with Texas, even had a nifty 3-5-6-3 defensive play.
After Napoli's leadoff double in the fifth, Fielder made a backhanded stop on Martin's grounder. Fielder ran toward Napoli, who had stopped between second and third, and eventually tossed the ball to third baseman Cabrera. After a relay to shortstop Peralta, the ball went back to Fielder for the tag near third base.
"I had a chance to do it earlier this year, and I kind of froze. I just wanted to be aggressive," said Fielder, who acknowledged with a grin that he doesn't often finish a defensive play on the other side of the infield. "Not too many for me."
Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre had three hits, and is hitting .512 (21 of 41) his last 11 games. ... The game time temperature was 100 degrees, the first triple-digit game of the season. ... Yu Darvish (9-4), who has won all six of his starts at Rangers Ballpark, pitches for Texas on Tuesday. Drew Smyly (2-2) comes off the DL to start for Detroit. The lefty has been out since June 11 with a blister on his left middle finger. ... Berry had his 12th stolen base in 30 games.