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MLB leaders: Mookie Betts wins A.L. batting title

Boston’s Mookie Betts, center, celebrates with teammates after defeating the New York Yankees in the final game of the regular baseball season in Boston, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)
Boston’s Mookie Betts, center, celebrates with teammates after defeating the New York Yankees in the final game of the regular baseball season in Boston, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. (Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)
By Ronald Blum Associated Press

NEW YORK – In a season of haves and have nots, Christian Yelich’s quest to become the National League’s first Triple Crown winner since 1937 will extend to a 163rd game Monday.

Yelich is assured the Brewers’ first batting title with a .323 average. He has 36 homers going into Monday’s N.L. Central tiebreaker game at the Chicago Cubs, one behind Nolan Arenado’s league-leading total for Colorado, and Yelich’s 109 RBIs are second to the Cubs’ Javier Baez, who leads with 111.

Arenado and the Rockies also have one more game, a Monday N.L. West tiebreaker at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Yelich was acquired from payroll-slashing Miami in January. Yelich was 0 for 2 with a pair of walks when he was removed by manager Craig Counsell with two outs in the top of the eighth, even though he was due to lead off the bottom half. Yelich jogged from center field to the dugout to a standing ovation from Brewers fans, tipping his cap.

“I don’t know what I was supposed to do there, so I hope that was good enough,” Yelich said. “It was really cool.”

There has not been a Triple Crown winner in the N.L. since Joe Medwick for the St. Louis Cardinals. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012 won the A.L.’s first Triple Crown since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

Boston’s Mookie Betts won this year’s A.L. batting title at .346, and with 32 homers and 30 stolen bases became the first player to lead either league in batting as part of a 30-30 season.

“It’s definitely an achievement, knowing that only two people win it, knowing that I’m one of them,” Betts said.

Highlighting how teams decided to go in all in or all out, Boston (108), Houston (103) and the New York Yankees (100) became the first trio of 100-game winners in the same league and the seventh ever across the major leagues.

The Chicago White Sox lost 100 games for the first time since 1970. That gave the major leagues three 100-loss teams for the second time since 1985 and the first since a record four in 2002. Baltimore at 47-115 lost the most games since Detroit went 43-118 in 2003, and Kansas City (104) dropped its most games since 2005.

There also were eight 95-loss teams for the first time in major league history when Cincinnati and Texas reached that figure on the final day. San Diego lost 96, and Detroit and Miami 98 each.

Oakland’s Khris Davis topped the major leagues with 48 homers, and Boston’s J.D. Martinez led the A.L. 130 RBIs.

“I thought I could hit 40 before I did, but it was just a matter of time before it showed up,” Davis said. “I was patient, and it did, and I got here.”

Baltimore’s Chris Davis hit .168 in the third season of a $161 million, seven-year contract, the lowest by a qualifier since 1900. The previous mark of .179 was set by Rob Deer in 1991 and Dan Uggla in 2013.

The Mets’ Jacob deGrom won the N.L. ERA title at 1.70, the second-lowest in the major leagues since Dwight Gooden’s 1.53 in 1985, behind only Zack Greinke’s 1.66 three years ago. Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell led the A.L. at 1.89, the lowest in that league since Pedro Martinez’s 1.74 in 2000.

Snell (21-5) led the major leagues in wins, and Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and Miles Mikolas shared the N.L. lead with 18.

Yankees hit 267 home runs, breaking the previous mark of 264 by the 1997 Seattle Mariners. New York became the first team with 12 players reaching double-digits in home runs and the first team with 20 or more from every spot in batting order.

Boston’s Alex Cora’s 108 wins were the second-most by a rookie manager, one behind the record Ralph Houk set with the 1961 Yankees.

Seattle’s Edwin Diaz had 57 saves, matching Bobby Thigpen in 1990 for the second-most behind Francisco Rodriguez’s 62 in 2008. Colorado’s Wade Davis led the N.L. with 43.

Kansas City’s Whit Merrifield stole 45 bases to lead the A.L. for the second straight year, and Washington’s Trea Turner was atop the N.L. with 43.

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