MINNEAPOLIS – Miguel Cabrera is slowly inching towards achieving the first Triple Crown since 1967.
With a line drive home run in the eighth inning against Minnesota on Saturday night, Cabrera moved into a tie with Texas star Josh Hamilton for the AL lead.
Cabrera's blast in the eighth inning off Casey Fien was his 43rd home run for the year. He also leads the AL in batting average (.327) and RBIs (136) as he looks to become the first player since 1967 to lead the league in all three categories.
"It's unbelievable what he's done this year," pitcher Justin Verlander said, the reigning AL MVP who was wearing a dark blue t-shirt with the message "Keep the MVP in the D" and Cabrera's name on the front.
"It's amazing to me how he keeps getting better. He's already the best hitter in the game and he keeps taking it to another level."
While it was Cabrera and his home run that gave the Tigers the five-run cushion they would end up needing in a 6-4 victory over the Twins that gave them a two-game lead in the AL Central, the Triple Crown hopeful deferred the attention away from himself.
It's unbelievable what he's done this year.
"I want to talk about the team," Cabrera said respectfully. "There's too many distractions right now and been talking too much about triple crowns. I pull too much attention. I don't want to do that. I want to go out there and play my game."
Cabrera entered the day leading Joe Mauer by five points in the batting race, Hamilton by eight in the RBI race, but trailing Hamilton by one in homers.
So will he be watching Hamilton down the stretch?
"I'll let you guys keep Hamilton in your eyes," Cabrera said. "I'll go to the hotel and get some breakfast tomorrow and try to win tomorrow."
The bigger prize, of course, is the division title. Neither the Tigers nor the Sox will qualify for one of two wild cards in the American League, so their only way in is through the division door.
"The last couple weeks, there's too much attention right now," Cabrera said of the triple crown. "I don't like too much of that stuff. But it's always good. You've got to feel comfortable with that. You've got to feel positive and be ready to play."
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.