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With No. 40, Miggy matches DiMaggio all time

With No. 40, Miggy matches DiMaggio all time

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DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera might not catch Chris Davis this year, but he just caught Joe DiMaggio. If he can pick up his pace, he could have a chance to catch Hank Greenberg on another list.

Cabrera is not talking about history right now, preferring to focus on here and now.

"I have to focus on what I can do, not on what people say," Cabrera said.

His teammates, though, are trying to soak in what they're watching.

"I have never seen that before," Torii Hunter said. "We'll probably never see it again when he's gone for another 100 years. This guy, he's impressive."

When Cabrera reached 40 homers for the first time in his career last season, he hit the milestone on Sept. 19. When he hit his 40th home run of this season Sunday off Bruce Chen, he beat last year's pace by a month. In the process, Cabrera hit another career milestone, tying Joe DiMaggio for 77th on the all-time list with his 361st career home run.

Hours after sending an Aaron Crow pitch to the tunnel beyond the right-center-field wall for a walk-off solo shot Saturday, Cabrera turned on the first pitch he saw from Chen and sent it deep to left for a two-run homer. It marked his 40th home run of the season in the Tigers' 124th game of the year, topping Cecil Fielder's pace from his 51-homer season in 1990.

Only Hall of Famer Greenberg reached 40 homers in a season earlier in a Tigers uniform. He needed just 109 games to hit the mark in his 58-homer season of 1938.

Neither Greenberg nor Fielder hit 40 homers batting anywhere close to the average Cabrera owns right now. If the season ended today, Cabrera would be the 17th player in Major League history to hit at least .360 with 40 homers and 120 RBIs in a season. The only other Tigers player on that list is Norm Cash, who hit .361 with 41 homers and 132 RBIs in 1961.

Todd Helton was the last Major Leaguer to do it in 2000. Cabrera's next home run would tie him with Helton on the all-time list, unless Helton hits another one before then.

Jim Leyland managed Helton in Colorado in 1999. What Cabrera is doing now is something that Leyland is trying to grasp in a historic context.

"I mean, I've never seen anything like it, and this is 50 [years in baseball] for me," Leyland said.

Leyland saw Cabrera win a Triple Crown last year. The one player keeping Cabrera from doing it again is Davis, who matched Cabrera's homer Sunday with one of his own to remain five ahead of him at 45.

It's the 14th time this season that Cabrera and Davis have homered on the same day, 13 of them since May 29.

"Leave Davis alone, man," Cabrera said. "That guy's got a great season. Don't worry about him. Let's talk about what we can do here in Detroit. He's got to worry about what he can do in Baltimore. We've got to do what we can do, play hard and try to win some games."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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