Mauer wins AL batting title on final day

Updated: October 1, 2006, 10:23 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Final American League Leaders
Joe Mauer, Minn. .347
Derek Jeter, NYY .343
Robinson Cano, NYY .342
• Mauer is the AL first catcher to win a batting title and, at 23, youngest batting champ since A-Rod (21) in 1996.
Complete leaders
David Ortiz, Bos. 54
Jermaine Dye, CWS 44
Travis Hafner, Cle.;
Jim Thome, CWS
• Ortiz's 54 homers are most in a single season in Red Sox history.
Complete leaders
David Ortiz, Bos. 137
Justin Morneau, Minn. 130
Raul Ibanez, Sea. 123
• Will Morneau (.321-34-130) give Ortiz (.287-54-137) a run for his MVP money?
Complete leaders
Grady Sizemore, Cle. 134
Derek Jeter, NYY 118
Johnny Damon, NYY 115
• No Indians player had ever led the majors in runs scored. Sizemore also led MLB in extra-base hits (92) and doubles (53).
Complete leaders
Carl Crawford, TB 58
Chone Figgins, LAA 52
Ichiro Suzuki, Sea., 45;
Corey Patterson, Balt., 45
• Crawford also became the first player to lead the AL in triples (16) three straight seasons since Lance Johnson's four-year reign from 1991-94.
Complete leaders
Johan Santana, Minn. 19
Chien-Ming Wang, NYY 19
Jon Garland, CWS 18
• Of the seven different pitchers who led the majors in wins, ERA and Ks in the same season, only Santana has done so since Dwight Gooden's 24-1.53-268 season of 1985.
Complete leaders
Johan Santana, Minn. 2.77
Roy Halladay, Tor. 3.19
C.C. Sabathia, Cle. 3.22
• Despite having a pitcher's triple crown season, Santana's best numbers-wise was 2004 -- 20 wins, 2.61, 265 Ks.
Complete leaders
Johan Santana, Minn. 245
Jeremy Bonderman, Det. 202
John Lackey, LAA 190
• This marked the second straight season the AL has had only two pitchers strike out 200 or more batters.
Complete leaders
Francisco Rodriguez, LAA 47
Bobby Jenks, CWS 41
B.J. Ryan, Tor. 38
• K-Rod struck out 98 in 73 innings, had a 1.73 ERA and held opponents to a .197 batting average.
Complete leaders

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.

Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez won the NL batting title for the first time, going 2-for-4 against Cincinnati to wind up at .344, five points ahead of Florida's Miguel Cabrera.

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.

Minnesota's Johan Santana and the New York Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang topped the AL at 19-6. In the NL, six pitchers tied with 16 wins.

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.

Kansas City (62-100) became just the 11th team in major league history to lose 100 games in three straight seasons, the first since the Toronto Blue Jays from 1977-79, their first three seasons.

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 home (41-40).

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press