Let race really begin

Catcher Joe Mauer and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who have won four of the last eight American League batting titles, are set to go head-to-head for another crown in what could be one of the best races of the second half. The Mariners’ Ichiro is batting .360 and has a 12-game hitting streak. But Mauer leads the league at .373 for the Minnesota Twins, who open a three-game series today at the Texas Rangers. Mauer, who missed the first month of the season with a back injury, became the first A.L. catcher to win a batting title when he hit .347 in 2006. He won another one last year at .328. Ichiro hit .350 to win as a rookie in 2001. In 2004, he hit .372 and set the single-season record for hits with 262.

– USA Today


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