DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers had exactly who they wanted at the plate with the bases loaded and a chance to take a lead.
"Miguel showed why he's a big-time player," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
Did Cabrera get a boost from the Comerica Park crowd of 33,710 cheering for him during the at-bat?
"You can hear nothing," he insisted. "You focus on doing your job."
Mark Lowe, meanwhile, lamented not doing his.
"When you can't take care of your job, it's tough to swallow," the losing pitcher said.
Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said he had to take out starter Felix Hernandez, who gave up only a run through seven innings, because of a hamstring cramp.
The Tigers took advantage.
Alex Avila hit the second pitch from Lowe (1-6) over the fence to pull the Tigers within one.
"That was huge, no question about it," Leyland said. "That got us going."
Pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago followed with a single. Seattle shortstop Josh Wilson was charged with an error on a one-out chopper by Placido Polanco and Carlos Guillen drew a walk to load the bases, setting up Cabrera's clutch hit.
Bobby Seay (3-2) allowed a run in the eighth and Fernando Rodney closed for his 25th save in 26 chances. Rodney had two runners in scoring position with one out, then stuck out Branyan and Jose Lopez.
Lowe spoiled Hernandez's stellar start by giving up four runs -- two earned -- three hits, a walk and getting only one out.
In Lowe's previous outing, he allowed a home run and the game-winning single against the New York Yankees and took the loss. Wakamatsu said Lowe has been overstriding.
"It's a quick fix for me," Lowe said.
Hernandez struck out nine and gave up four hits.
"He's one of the best in all of baseball," Leyland said. "But the key to the game was Porcello because he was really matching him inning for inning."
Porcello gave up a run and four hits over 5 2/3 innings in his first start since serving a five-game suspension for his part in a brawl with Boston's Kevin Youkilis.
"Today couldn't have come soon enough," he said.
Porcello allowed a leadoff hit to Ichiro Suzuki, then didn't give up another until Wilson hit a one-out homer in the sixth on an 0-2 pitch to make it 1-all.
Perry gave up a leadoff single to Wilson in the eighth and was replaced by Seay, matching up a left-hander against Suzuki, whose third of four hits in the game was a double that put two runners in scoring position with no outs.
Branyan followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Mariners ahead for the first time and Lopez was intentionally walked to load the bases for Ken Griffey Jr., whose sacrifice fly gave them a 3-1 lead.
The Tigers rallied for their fifth win in eight games and handed Seattle its fourth loss in five games.
Detroit is 39-19 at Comerica, trailing only the Yankees in home wins, but are 12 games under .500 on the road.
"We ask that a lot of times," Cabrera acknowledged. "I don't know why."
DH Aubrey Huff had one hit in his Detroit debut. "He hit a bullet, an absolute rocket," Leyland said. "I'm debating whether to play him in left [Wednesday]. Huff is giddy about going from the last-place Orioles to Detroit. "Normally this time of year, you got Hawaii already booked up," Huff said. ... Suzuki had multiple hits for a baseball-best 59th time this season and 608th time in his career, the highest total in a nine-season stretch since 1920. ... Wakamatsu said SS Jack Wilson, who has been out since Aug. 12, because of an aggravated left hamstring, will likely return later this week against Cleveland. ... Raburn was credited with stealing home, the first by a Tiger since Gary Sheffield two years ago at Seattle.