DETROIT -- The Tigers moved into a first-place tie with the White Sox in the American League Central on Tuesday night with a 2-0 win over the Royals. It was on a rare night when third baseman Miguel Cabrera didn't make an impact at the plate.
For only the fourth time in 22 September games, Cabrera went hitless in the victory at Comerica Park. It marked his first 0-for-3 game since Sept. 9, snapping his career high 14-game hitting streak.
With Cabrera going 2-for-11 (.182) over his last three games, manager Jim Leyland was actually asked if he was worried about what he's seen.
"What I see is that he's a human being," Leyland said. "You don't do it all the time, every time. It just goes to show you how hard this game is and that you don't do it every time. That's why I always emphasize, ever since I've been here, team. It's about team."
Cabrera's team certainly had his back on Tuesday, while he made a key defensive play in the fourth inning -- snaring a liner by Salvador Perez with two on that likely saved a pair of runs and preserved Detroit's early lead. A postseason berth would likely squander any debate over whether he or Angels outfielder Mike Trout deserves to win the AL's Most Valuable Player Award.
Despite the hitless night, the Tigers' slugger continues to make his push for the first Triple Crown in 45 years. He entered the night pacing the league in batting average and RBIs, but trailing Texas' Josh Hamilton by one home run.
Hamilton did not go deep against the A's and remained at 43 homers. But the Rangers outfielder was not the biggest threat on the night. It was Minnesota's Joe Mauer, who is proving to be a serious contender for the batting title.
Mauer went 3-for-4 as the Twins defeated the Yankees at Target Field, improving his season average to .326 while Cabrera's dropped to .329. Meanwhile, Cabrera retained a comfortable lead with 133 RBIs. Hamilton is next with 124.
While Mauer and Hamilton both admit they've become fans of Cabrera and are rooting to see history, they're not allowing it to happen without a fight.
"I'm not going to stop playing. I'm rooting for him, but I'm not going to go out there and not try to hit home runs," Hamilton said. "But he's so close, I would definitely like to see it happen."
"It kinds of fun to see a guy like that chasing a Triple Crown," Mauer said. "He's a guy that's done it [consistently] every year. To see him chasing that while they're chasing a playoff spot is pretty fun. ... But I'm going to keep going out there and trying to do what I can do."