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And the new AL batting leader is ... James Loney

With two hits and - more importantly - five plate appearances on Wednesday, Rays 1B James Loney finally qualified for the AL leaderboard and wakes up this morning as the top hitter with a .385 average.

To qualify. a hitter has to have 3.1 plate appearance for each team game. Loney, who doesn;t play against some left-handers, finally caught up with his last trip to the plate on Wednesday.

The last Ray to lead the league in hitting even this late in the season was OF Matt Joyce, who actually led the majors through June 2 in 2011. The latest a Ray has led into a season was June 6, which SS Jason Bartlett accompished in 2009.

Loney ranks ahead of Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who is at .381, and just behind Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez, who is at .386, for the major-league lead.

Loney is hitting .485 over his last 20 games (14 starts), with his average increasing from .167 to the .385.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 9, 2013 1:23am]


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