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Already in elite company, Miggy's pace torrid

DETROIT -- Opposing managers and players have talked in awe all season about watching Miguel Cabrera hit the ball. Now the numbers are backing up their beliefs.

After his two-run home run in the first inning Tuesday against the Angels, Cabrera became only the sixth player since 1920 with at least 1,200 RBIs and 300 homers in his first 11 seasons, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

He joins the rare list that includes Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Jeff Bagwell and Albert Pujols.

"He's hitting in one of worst hitter's ballparks I've ever seen," Indians manager Terry Francona said earlier this season. "To be a power hitter here, and put up the numbers he's hitting -- jog out to right-center, it's a haul. And he doesn't get any light hits. So what he's doing is unbelievable."

Entering Wednesday's game, Cabrera led the American League with a .368 batting average and 77 RBIs, but was tied in third with 21 home runs in his quest to become the first player in baseball history to win back-to-back Triple Crowns. He hit a solo homer in the first inning Wednesday off Billy Buckner.

At 78 RBIs after the homer, Cabrera has the most by a player at the end of June since Josh Hamilton had 80 in 2008, according to STATS. If Cabrera can reach 80 RBIs in the next five games, he'll be the 22nd player to reach that plateau since 1920 and the first Tigers player to do it since Hank Greenberg (91) in 1935, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

"I probably throw the best changeup I've ever thrown in my life to a guy that's just on a whole another playing field," Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester said earlier this week after giving up a home run to Cabrera. "I wish he'd quit and go to a different league -- make a league especially for him."

Cabrera has been averaging more than one RBI per game this year, and is on pace for 97 by the All-Star break, which would be tied for the fourth-highest total in MLB history.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for
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