Miggy, hitless and robbed, not worried about Crown
Great catch by KC's Gordon takes away slugger's 43rd homer
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera hit one a mile high and deep, back to the left-field wall. The fans rose to their feet, anticipating Cabrera tying Texas' Josh Hamilton for the American League lead in home runs and moving back into the lead for all Triple Crown categories.
But just like that, the moment was ripped away.
Royals left fielder Alex Gordon drifted back to the warning track and braced himself against the wall for what seemed like an eternity before he reached over the fence and brought back what would have been Cabrera's 43rd homer.
"I don't want to say it was an easy play, but it wasn't that hard of a play," Gordon said.
He didn't jump, he just extended his arm.
If Cabrera misses the Triple Crown by one homer, this will be the play that prevented history and the end of a 45-year drought without a player leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBIs.
Cabrera wasn't upset, however. He met the media with a smile on his face.
"Right now it's tough to hit home runs at Comerica Park," Cabrera said. "It's a lot of wind, cold weather. I mean, it's OK."
Right now it's tough for Cabrera to even get a hit. He's making good contact, but the balls aren't falling the way they were a few days ago. He finished hitless for the second straight night and is 0-for-9 dating back to Monday.
But the last thing his teammates and coaches are concerned about is his recent "slump."
"I can't swear to it, but it looks like a guy pulled a home run back over the fence," manager Jim Leyland said. "So I'm not too worried about Miguel Cabrera."
The slugger remains at 42 homers and Hamilton was kept in the park by the A's, so no ground was lost. However, Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion belted his 42nd to pull into a tie.
As for the batting title, Cabrera dropped to .327, while an 0-for-4 day from Joe Mauer dropped the Twins catcher, from .326 to .323. Angels outfielder Mike Trout is in the mix, too, at .324.
Perhaps the only guarantee at this point is Cabrera's lead in RBIs. With seven games left, he leads the Majors with 133, nine ahead of Hamilton and 23 ahead of Minnesota's Josh Willingham.
As the season inches to an end, the national spotlight is increasingly shining on Cabrera, who is receiving questions daily about his Triple Crown chances. It's heating up to the point that on Tuesday, after an 0-fer, Leyland was asked if he was alarmed -- to which he quickly responded in the negative.
The last player who finished first in all three categories says this type of coverage is unheard of.
"In '67 the Triple Crown was never even mentioned once," Carl Yastrzemski told reporters in Boston on Wednesday. "We were so involved in the pennant race, I didn't know I won the Triple Crown until the next day, when I read it in the paper."
That can't even be imagined in this day and age of 24/7 social media and sports news. But even with the pressures players face today, Yastrzemski thinks the feat will be achieved.
"Someone is going to do it, whether it's Cabrera this year or next year," he said. "I'm surprised it's gone on this long, to be perfectly honest. ... It's going to happen."
Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.