1st place Bo Bissett 0.3184, 2nd place Yandy Diaz 0.3180, 3rd place Masataka Yoshida 0.3179. The American League’s top 1-3 hitters all have an official batting average of 0.318.

The top of the batting order is in sight.

Boston Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida, 30, has closed the gap to first place to 0.0005. He is in position to become the first player to win the batting title in his debut major league season, just like Ichiro Suzuki.

On the 18th, the A’s hosted the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum. Batting fourth and designated hitter, Yoshida hit back-to-back doubles to left field in the second and fourth innings. It was his 37th multi-hit game of the season.

Led off the second inning with a double off an outside fastball (154 mph) from right-hander Luis Medina. In the fourth inning, with the bases loaded, he took a fastball (152 mph) on the body. Both times, he failed to get a follow-up hit. In the sixth, he grounded out to third base, and in his final at-bat in the ninth, he flied out to centre field.

Two hits in four at-bats. Had a .3189 slugging percentage through his third at-bat, but struck out in his final at-bat to finish at .3179.

The previous day (17th), Diaz of the Tampa Bay Rays led the league with a .322 average. He went 0-for-4 against the Texas Rangers that day, dropping to .3180. Bissett of the Toronto Blue Jays went 2-for-4 against the San Diego Padres. He improved his season batting average from .317 to .3184 to take over the top spot. The rankings could change every game. The three-way battle between Yoshida, Bissett, and Diaz is a fascinating one.

Two days ago, Yoshida was at 0.317, five points behind leader Diaz (0.323). After two games, he caught up.

He has been hitting very well since the end of the first half. In his last six games, he is 10-for-27 with a .370 batting average. He hit three home runs, including a grand slam, and had six RBIs against the Chicago Cubs on 17 April.

One Japanese hitter has won a major league batting title in the past. Yoshida’s Oryx Buffaloes teammate, Ichiroda, is another. He made his major league debut with the Seattle Mariners in 2001 (.350) and 2004.

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