NEW YORK -- Joe Mauer became the first catcher to win the American League batting title, going 2-for-4 for the Minnesota Twins on the final day of the regular season to hold off the New York Yankees' Derek Jeter.
Mauer doubled and singled against the Chicago White Sox,
leaving his average at .347 down from a high of .392 on July 1 but
good enough to best Jeter, who went 1-for-5 against Toronto and
wound up at .343.
"You couldn't really not think about it," Mauer said. "There
were so many questions. Scores on the board, people saying you need
to do this, do that. I've never been so nervous in my life. I'm
just happy it's all over with and we're here celebrating."
Mauer became the first catcher to win a batting title in either
league since Ernie Lombardi hit .330 for the 1942 Boston Braves.
"That's something you can never take away when you're the
first. It's unbelievable, the things that happened today," Mauer said.
Jeter, who has never won a batting title, finished second to
Boston's Nomar Garciaparra in 1999 and four years later went
0-for-3 on the final day, finishing two points behind Boston's Bill Mueller and one back of Manny Ramirez.
"Everyone would love to win a batting title," Jeter said. "We
got bigger and better things starting on Tuesday, so that's our main focus."
The Yankees and Twins both finished as AL division champions.
New York faces Detroit in the first round and Minnesota plays Oakland.
Elsewhere around the AL on Sunday:
Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki led the majors with 224 hits. With seven
straight 200-hit seasons, Suzuki matched Wade Boggs for the
second-longest streak behind Willie Keeler's eight in a row from 1894-1901.
Boston's David Ortiz led the AL in home runs (54) and RBI (137).
For the first time in modern major league history, there were no 20-game winners in a non-shortened season.
Santana won his second AL ERA title at 2.77 and struck out 245 to lead the majors and win his third straight AL title.
Francisco Rodriguez led the majors with 47 saves after tying for
the AL lead last year.
Tampa Bay (51-101) became the first team in major league history
to lose 100 games in a season despite having a winning record at