Cabrera hit his 43rd homer, bolstering his pursuit of another Triple Crown, but Barton had a tiebreaking RBI single in Oakland's two-run sixth inning. Crisp also had a solo homer during his three-hit performance.
A.J. Griffin (11-9) earned his first win since July 29 despite allowing four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings. The right-hander was 0-2 with a 3.47 ERA in his previous four starts.
Omar Infante and Victor Martinez also homered for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who had won three in a row. Martinez went 4 for 5 and Torii Hunter had two hits.
Cabrera went deep in the fifth, sending a 3-1 pitch from Griffin over the wall in right for a two-run shot that tied it at 4. He leads the AL with a .359 batting average and 130 RBIs, but he trailed Baltimore slugger Chris Davis for the home run lead by three.
Oakland responded in the sixth, jumping all over reliever Jose Alvarez (1-4). Barton, who was called up from Triple-A Sacramento earlier in the day, had the last of three consecutive singles to open the inning, driving in Nate Freiman. Crisp added an RBI single.
Alberto Callaspo added a run-scoring single against Al Alburquerque in the seventh and Jed Lowrie's RBI double in the eighth made it 8-4.
Martinez connected against Sean Doolittle in the eighth, making it 8-5 with a leadoff drive for his 11th homer. After a flyout, Doolittle was replaced by Ryan Cook, who loaded the bases with two outs on two singles and a walk. But Cook got out of the jam by striking out Hunter on three pitches.
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Grant Balfour allowed an unearned run in the ninth on Matt Tuiasosopo's grounder before finishing for his 33rd save.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin made an unusual decision after Dan Otero threw two balls to Cabrera with runners on the corners and two out in the seventh. Melvin had Otero finish off an intentional walk, putting the tying run on base, and Doolittle got Prince Fielder to fly out to center to end the threat.
Anibal Sanchez got the start for the Tigers and allowed four runs and five hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked three.
NOTES: Crisp also made a diving catch in right-center to rob pinch hitter Tuiasosopo of extra bases in the eighth. ... Oakland placed RF Josh Reddick on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right wrist. Reddick sprained the wrist on Sunday. Barton took Reddick's place on the roster. Oakland also designated RHP Pat Neshek for assignment. Right-hander Evan Scribner was recalled from Sacramento to take Neshek's roster spot. ... Detroit SS Jose Iglesias returned after missing two games because of soreness above his left elbow. ... The pitching matchup for the second game of the series on Tuesday night is Tigers ace Justin Verlander (12-9, 3.68 ERA) against LHP Tommy Milone (9-9, 4.30 ERA).
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