Fastballs, meatballs, slow curves ... pitchers facing Cabrera try it all

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- First time up, Miguel Cabrera blooped a soft single into center field.

Second time up, he drilled a single through the middle to knock in two more runs and run his RBI count to 139.

So third time up, Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie uncoiled a ... painfully ... slow ... 65 m.p.h. curveball. And then another. Cabrera banged the second one down the right-field line for his only out of the night.

At this rate, with Cabrera firmly positioned to become the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, apparently the only thing left in the Royals' toolbox for Wednesday is a stray eephus pitch or two.

"The fastballs weren't working," Guthrie said. "You've just got to hope for a mis-hit with him. A lot of times, good pitches aren't the right pitches because he hits those, too."

Cabrera said he didn't know whether those were the slowest pitches he's seen all season. They very well might have been. A week or so ago, Oakland's A.J. Griffin launched a pitch clocked at 68 m.p.h. at him ... and Cabrera launched it more than 400 feet for one of his 44 homers.

"I have a lot of respect for him," Guthrie said. "Win the Triple Crown or not, he's phenomenal. It's nothing he hasn't done in the past, other than put all of the numbers together at once.

"Win, lose or draw, he's put up a campaign to remember."

At .331, with 44 homers and 139 RBIs, Cabrera is closing in fast on becoming the first man since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win a Triple Crown.

A campaign to remember, indeed.

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