Mauer closes in on Miggy, Twins beat Yankees 5-4
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The hits just keep on coming for Joe Mauer, and now the resurgent Minnesota Twins star is right in Miguel Cabrera's rearview mirror.
Mauer had three hits and an RBI to raise his batting average to .326 as he threatens Cabrera's run for the Triple Crown and the Twins rallied to beat the New York Yankees 5-4 on Tuesday night.
Mauer's last single, a rocket to right field off of normally reliable lefty Boone Logan, scored a run to cap the Twins' four-run seventh inning. Cabrera, the Tigers slugger, went 0 for 3 on Tuesday to drop to .329 with one week to go.
A fourth AL batting crown is within reach, and this one would likely be even more special than the rest since Mauer has bounced back from an injury plagued 2011 that caused him to fall out of favor with some Twins fans.
"Oh absolutely, don't get me wrong with that. You know, I'd love to win," Mauer said. "But obviously if you start thinking about that, you start trying and that's when it doesn't happen for you."
The Twins trailed 3-1 going into the seventh, with Phil Hughes (16-13) rolling through the lineup and regaining command of his changeup and fastball that had eluded him of late. But he left with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, with Yankees manager Joe Girardi opting to go with reliable lefty Boone Logan against a string of four straight left-handers due up for the Twins.
Logan let one run score on a wild pitch before giving up a two-run double to Denard Span that put the Twins in front for good.
Mauer followed with his third single of the game, and the Twins held on to keep the Orioles, who lost to Toronto earlier on Tuesday, 1½ games back of New York in the AL East.
"As I've said all along, people get frustrated with Joe if he's hitting just barely over .300," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "This guy, he's totally incredible. He can flat out hit. It's amazing to see. He sets such a high standard that when he gets down there close to .300, people think he's struggling. That's a way you make a lot of money in this game, just hitting .300. He goes way above that."