"He wants to be in there battling for it," Gardenhire said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow and see where we're at tomorrow and go from there."
Mauer has never faced Tuesday night's starter for the Blue Jays, Chad Jenkins. He is 1-2 against the Jays' expected Wednesday night starter, Brandon Morrow, but hasn't faced him since the 2009 season. Cabrera is a combined 11-34 against the two Kansas City starters scheduled in their final two games.
Mauer went 3-for-4 against the Tigers, bringing his average on the season up to .323. He is now just two points behind Cabrera, who went 0-for-3 on Sunday.
Mauer's three-hit game Sunday snapped an 0-for-13 string that saw his average drop from .326 to .320. Since Sept. 10, Cabrera has hit safely in all but two games, making it tough for Mauer to spoil his chances at the Triple Crown.
Here are the latest numbers in the AL batting title race.
In an interesting twist, Mauer (.414) is leading the on-base percentage race, but Prince Fielder (.410) is still close enough to strike. The Twins and Tigers have been through very different seasons, but those teams will meet for a three-game series over the weekend as the Tigers try to hold off the Chicago White Sox for the rights to the AL Central crown.
With the Twins sitting at the bottom of the division and trying to stay out of last place in the AL, Mauer's batting title chase is one of the lone bright spots for the remainder of 2012.
Mauer has been coming on strong of late, but did not help his cause on Wednesday, going 0-for-4 from the plate, but Cabrera also failed to get a hit. Mauer now stands at .323, with Cabrera at .327 as the Twins and Tigers face off in a three-game series starting Sept. 28. Also in contention are Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels at .323 and Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees at .320.
After a disappointing and injury-plagued 2011, Mauer has returned to form this year. He won batting titles in 2006 (.347), 2008 (.328), and 2009 (.365). Cabrera won his first title last season, batting .344, and is in contention for the triple crown this year. He is currently leading the league in batting average and RBIs and trails Josh Hamilton by only one HR. Mauer said he would love to win the title, but is not focusing on it.
Joe Mauer is just barely holding on to a slim chance that he's able to catch Miguel Cabrera in a quest for the 2012 AL batting title. Tuesday night's game made his chances a bit better, though, as he was able to go 3-for-4, whereas the Detroit Tigers' slugger went 0-for-3.
Mauer helped the Minnesota Twins spoil the New York Yankees' night on Tuesday with a 5-4 victory. Since the Twins have been out of the playoff race for quite awhile, however, the fact that Mauer was able to help himself get closer to his personal goals helped more than the win likely did.
"Mauer just continues on his pace," Manager Ron Gardenhire said. "This guy, he's totally incredible. He can flat out hit. It's amazing to see. He sets such a high standard that when he gets down there close to .300, people think he's struggling. That's a way you make a lot of money in this game, just hitting .300. He goes way above that."
With just a handful of games left in the regular season, Mauer has moved just three points behind Cabrera in the race with a .326 average. Cabrera's Tigers visit the Twins for a three-game series this weekend.
The race for the highest batting average may not be as exciting in the sabermetric era, when it's all about on-base and slugging percentages, but the top mark would still be seen as a big accomplishment considering that Mauer (.324) is chasing AL MVP hopefuls Mike Trout (.327) and Miguel Cabrera (.333).
Mauer doesn't have much time left to make up the margin, so the call to take away a hit on Wednesday night stings a bit more. He has paced the A.L. in batting average three times during his career: in 2006 he hit .347, in 2008 he hit .328 and in 2009 he hit .365 for the year.
The added intrigue to the race for the batting title in 2012 is that Cabrera is currently making a serious run at the A.L. Triple Crown. Aside from holding the league lead in batting average, he is also first in RBI with 129 and second in homers to Josh Hamilton with 40.
Mauer, for his part, has led the A.L. in batting three times: in 2006 when he hit .347, in 2008 when he hit .328 and in 2009 when he hit .365.