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MLB Notebook: Cabrera chases Triple Crown

MLB Notebook: Cabrera chases Triple Crown

MLB Notebook: Cabrera chases Triple Crown
In 1920, Babe Ruth -- while obliterating the Major League record for home runs in a season -- became the first player to finish a year with at least a .330 batting average, 130 RBIs and 40 home runs. Though his 54 homers and 137 RBIs led the American League, his .376 batting average was only good enough for fourth in the league, a fair distance behind George Sisler's .407 mark.

The following season, Ruth again hit at least .330 with at least 40 homers and 130 RBIs, again led the league in the latter two categories, again set a new home run record, and again failed to capture the batting title. Though Ruth would compile nine seasons with a slash line of at least .330/40/130, he never would capture a Triple Crown.

In baseball history, 21 players have reached or surpassed a line of .330/40/130 (those 21 players have done it a total of 40 times), but only four led the league in all three categories: Rogers Hornsby in 1922, Jimmie Foxx in '33, Lou Gehrig in '34 and Mickey Mantle in '56. Of the four, Foxx and Mantle were also awarded the Most Valuable Player Award for their efforts.

Miguel Cabrera
In both ends of a doubleheader, Cabrera doubled in a run for his only hit in four at-bats, and he ended the day with a .331 batting average, 42 home runs and 133 RBIs. In his quest for baseball's first Triple Crown since 1967, Cabrera leads Mike Trout and Joe Mauer by eight points in the batting race, Josh Hamilton by 10 RBIs, and is tied with Hamilton atop the home run leaderboard.

Cabrera's two doubles on the day gave him 40 for the season.

Cabrera is the first Tigers player with a 40-homer, 40-double season since Hank Greenberg had 41 home runs and 50 doubles in 1940. Cabrera is the first in the AL to do it since 2005, when Mark Teixeira had 43 home runs and 41 doubles and David Ortiz had 47 home runs and 40 doubles.

The two doubles also raised Cabrera's career total to 386. For all players in history through their age-29 season, that total is the third highest, behind Joe Medwick's 416 and Albert Pujols' 387.

Cody Ross
Ross went 2-for-4 with a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning, and the Red Sox defeated the Orioles, 2-1. Ross has 34 doubles, a triple and 21 home runs in 497 plate appearances for an extra-base hit percentage of 11.27. That mark is the fourth best among AL qualifiers. Ross is behind Cabrera (12.44), Hamilton (11.99) and Pujols (11.45).

Aramis Ramirez
Ramirez doubled twice in the Brewers' 15-hit attack, and Milwaukee defeated Washington, 6-2. Ramirez increased his total of two-base hits to 49, tied with Robin Yount's 49 in 1980 for the second-highest total in Brewers history. Lyle Overbay had 53 in 2004. With one more double, Ramirez would become the seventh third baseman in history with 50 in a season.

Cliff Lee
Lee struck out 11 batters with no walks, but also allowed two runs and nine hits in eight innings and took the loss, as the Braves defeated the Phillies, 2-1.

Lee has seven career games with at least 11 strikeouts and no walks. Those seven are tied for the fifth most since 1918.

Most games with at least 11 strikeouts and no walks (1918-2012)
Games Pitchers
25 Randy Johnson
16 Roger Clemens
13 Pedro Martinez
12 Curt Schilling
7 Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Ferguson Jenkins, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Javier Vazquez, Cliff Lee

Lee has made 15 consecutive starts of at least six innings and one or fewer walks. That streak is the longest in a season since 1918, surpassing the 14-game run authored by Greg Maddux in '97.

Tim Hudson
Hudson allowed one unearned run and two hits in 7 1/3 innings, and improved to 16-6 for the season and 197-103 for his career. Since 1901, Hudson is one of 18 pitchers to have at least 197 victories and an ERA+ of at least 125 through his age-36 season. He and Roy Halladay are the only two active pitchers to be on this list.

The other 16, ordered by number of victories through that age-36 season are Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Pete Alexander, Maddux, Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens, Lefty Grove, Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn, Carl Hubbell, Pedro Martinez, Stan Coveleski, Hal Newhouser and Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown.

B.J. Upton
In the Rays' 3-0 win over the Blue Jays, Upton hit his 26th home run of the season and 10th in his past 19 games. Upton's 10 homers in September are the most in the Majors, and the most for the franchise in this particular month since Carlos Pena had 13 in 2007.

Closers
Craig Kimbrel (1.08 ERA) collected his 39th save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Tampa Bay's Fernando Rodney (0.64 ERA) recorded his 44th save of the year with a scoreless ninth. San Diego's Huston Street (0.97 ERA) racked up his 22nd save, despite allowing a run in the ninth inning. Among all players in history with at least 20 saves in a season, the respective ERAs by this trio would be the second lowest (Rodney), the fifth lowest (Street) and the seventh lowest (Kimbrel).

A.J. Burnett
Burnett struck out 11, walked one and allowed four hits and one run in eight innings to improve to 16-8 on the season.

Burnett has 30 career double-digit strikeout games, tied for the 39th most (with Jason Schmidt) since 1918.

Burnett's 16 wins are the most for the Pirates since John Smiley had 20 and Zane Smith had 16 in 1991.

Aaron Hill
Hill went 3-for-5 and notched his 40th double and 24th home run, and the Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies, 10-7. Hill is the 10th National League second baseman to have 40 doubles and 20 homers in a season. The others are Rogers Hornsby (six), Jeff Kent (four), Craig Biggio (three), Chase Utley (three), Edgardo Alfonzo (two), Mike Lansing (one), Jose Vidro (one), Marcus Giles (one) and Dan Uggla (one).

Angels
In the Angels' 4-1 win over the White Sox, Jered Weaver (6 1/3 innings, one run) improved to 19-4, while Pujols drove in two runs to reach 100 RBIs (101) for the 11th time in his 12-year career.

Weaver leads the AL in wins, winning percentage (.826), WHIP (1.002) and hits per nine (6.97), and is tied for second in ERA (2.74).

Pujols is the second player to have at least 100 RBIs in 11 of his first 12 seasons, joining Al Simmons. Pujols is the only player to have 11 seasons with 30 homers and 100 RBIs through his first 12 years.

Everth Cabrera
Cabrera went 4-for-4 with a walk and three steals. He is the first Padres player to reach safely five times and steal three bases since Tony Gwynn on May 15, 1989. Among Major League shortstops, Cabrera is the second to do it this year, following the Dodgers' Dee Gordon, who did it against the Padres.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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