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Joe Mauer Stymied By Umpires In Quest For AL Batting Title

Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer has quietly clawed his way back into the AL batting title race, but he didn't get any favors from the umpires during Wednesday's 6-4 win against the Cleveland Indians. Third-base umpire Mike Muchlinski initially called Mauer's eighth-inning line drive to left field a hit, but when Indians manager Manny Acta came out to argue the call on a close play, Muchinski changed his call to take the hit away from Mauer and the inning ended on an out instead.

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.

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Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.