Davis stands in way of Cabrera’s Triple Crown bid

Only Chris Davis stands between Miguel Cabrera and baseball

history.

As he heads toward the conclusion of another sensational season

with the Detroit Tigers, Cabrera has a decent shot at becoming the

first major league player to win the Triple Crown in successive

seasons.

Entering play Monday, Cabrera comfortably led the AL with a .356

batting average, 28 points higher than runner-up Mike Trout. His

126 RBIs were best in the league, too, eight better than Davis.

In home runs, though, Davis held a 46-42 advantage. And if the

Baltimore Orioles slugger can make that lead stand up, then

Cabrera’s bid for a repeat performance will be denied.

”As far as me being the obstruction for him doing it again, I

hope he does do it again,” Davis said. ”That would be awesome.

He’s a great hitter. He deserves everything that he gets.

”My goal is not to go out there and keep Miguel Cabrera from

winning the Triple Crown. It’s to do everything I can to put us in

position to win, whether that means I hit 10 more home runs or two

more home runs. I’ve had a productive year so far, but if we don’t

make the playoffs, it doesn’t really mean a lot.”

A productive year? That’s putting it mildly. Davis ranks 10th in

the AL with a .302 batting average, has already surpassed his

previous career high RBI total by 33 and leads everyone in both

leagues in home runs.

Most importantly, he’s got four more homers than Cabrera, who

last year became the first player to win the Triple Crown since

Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967.

Davis understands the significance of the accomplishment.

”Obviously when somebody does something like that, not only is

it extremely hard to do, but it doesn’t happen very often,” he

said. ”You have to appreciate that.”

Only two players in baseball history have won it twice: Rogers

Hornsby in 1922 and 1925, and Ted Williams in 1942 and 1947.

”One is pretty special to have. It’s a pretty impressive feat

to win it once,” Orioles catcher Matt Wieters said. ”So, I’m

going to root for Chris to keep rolling. Whether Miggy wins the

Triple Crown or not, I don’t think anybody’s going to doubt what

kind of a player and hitter he is.”

No one will argue that Cabrera is among the finest right-handed

hitters ever to play the game. In most years, 42 homers with a week

to play in August would be good enough for the league lead.

Not this year. Cabrera has been in catch-up mode for months

behind the man nicknamed ”Crush.”

”We don’t worry about him,” Cabrera insisted. ”We focus on

what we can do here in Detroit.”

Cabrera and Davis haven’t been in touch since the All-Star game,

when Detroit’s third baseman had some meaningful words of advice

for Davis, who was in the midst of a career year.

”One of the things he told me was, `Don’t let the talking heads

get to you,”’ Davis said. ”Down the stretch everybody is going to

compare us and say that this guy is doing this or this guy is doing

that. But the biggest thing is to go out there and continue to

play. He said, `You’re having a great year. You have something to

be proud of. It’s not whether you finish with better numbers than I

do, because you’ve still had a great year.’ I really appreciated

that.”

Davis won’t measure his success in 2013 by the numbers of home

runs he hits. He’s more focused on the numbers in the victory

column for Baltimore.

”Chris is a huge team guy,” Wieters said. ”He’s about winning

more than anything. We’re all rooting for him because of that,

because he cares more about us winning than any kind of home run

title. Everybody in this clubhouse is rooting for him to keep going

because, one, it’s going to help us win and two, because he

deserves it.”

Said Davis: ”There’s going to be a different home run king

every year. Somebody is going to come along and break somebody

else’s record. For me, the individual awards are nice, but at the

end of the day, I play for the ultimate team award. To say that you

were part of a winning team, or even a championship team, is

something that nobody can ever take away from you. That’s how I

feel about it.”

AP Sports Writer Larry Lage in Detroit contributed to this

report.