Jose Altuve, Justin Morneau win AL, NL batting titles

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Astros second baseman Jose Altuve went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI single in Sunday’s regular season finale, a loss in New York to the Mets. Altuve ends the season with a .341 average, six points ahead of Victor Martinez in second place, to win the AL batting title. Martinez went 0-for-3 in the Tigers’ AL Central-clinching 3-0 win against the Twins. Altuve, the first batting champion from the Astros, also tied for the second-most steals in baseball with Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton at 56.

On the National League side of things, Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau did not start for a second consecutive game but won the batting title anyway. His competition, Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison, went 0-for-4 in the Pirates’ 4-1 loss to the Reds. Harrison’s average dropped to .315, four points behind Morneau. Morneau’s .319 average is the lowest for a batting champion since Terry Pendleton hit the same in 1991.

Twins reach historic home run total during 11-4 rout of White Sox

Max Kepler
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The Twins trampled the White Sox on Friday night, cruising to a cool 11-4 lead over their division rivals and collecting their sixth double-digit win of 2019. Even more impressive, they picked up their 99th, 100th, and 101st home runs, a feat that’s rarely been matched in a team’s first 50 games of any given season.

The first homer of the night was delivered by Eddie Rosario in the third inning. Working against a single-run deficit, Rosario lifted an 0-1 fastball from the White Sox’ Reynaldo López, planting it firmly in the left field stands and evening the score, 4-4. Two batters later, Rosario’s solo home run got a sequel: a 398-footer from Miguel Sanó, this one postmarked for the upper deck in left.

In the fourth, now leading 5-4, the Twins saw a third and final homer from the bat of Max Kepler, whose center-field blast traveled a projected 397 feet to give the club a two-run advantage. Per MLB Stats, the Twins’ record — 101 homers in 50 games — stands second only to that of the 1999 Mariners, who managed to club 102 home runs before their 51st game of the season.

While the record has undoubtedly been a team effort, Rosario leads the pack with a team-best 15 homers so far this year, closely followed by C.J. Cron (13), Max Kepler (11), and Jonathan Schoop (10). Sanó, whose solo shot marked the team’s 100th home run of 2019, has just five, though there’s little doubt he’ll reach double digits before the end of the season.

According to MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park, the Twins also made it to an even 300 runs scored in 2019, for a satisfying average of six runs per game and a new franchise record (previous high mark: 273 runs scored in 1992). With the win, they improved to 34-16 on the year and continue to hold a comfortable eight-game lead in the AL Central.