- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 28, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Jose Reyes was in reach of becoming the first Mets player to win a batting title, bunting for a hit in the first inning of his team’s finale before leaving what could be his final game for New York.

Reyes raised his average to .337, 2 1/2 points higher than Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun going into the Brewers’ regular-season finale against Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. Braun hit grounders in his first three at-bats, dropping to .333 through five innings.

Reyes said he told Mets manager Terry Collins “If I go 1 for 1, take me out of the game.’”

It may have been Reyes‘ last game for the Mets. He is eligible for free agency after the World Series.

“A lot of people told me I shouldn’t play today. I said, `Oh, no. I want to play. I want to be there for the fans,’” Reyes said. “I don’t know if I’m going to be here next year.”

Before his game, Braun said he respected “whatever decision he decided to make and ultimately he left the door open for me. It’s not impossible.”

Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera was pretty much assured of the AL batting crown when he finished with a .344 average, with Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez (.338) and the Texas Rangers’ Michael Young (.337) in the seventh inning of their games.

Toronto’s Jose Bautista was leading for his second straight major league home run title with 43, while the Brewers’ Prince Fielder and the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp were tied for the NL lead with 38.

After threatening to become the first Triple Crown winner since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, Kemp faded from the batting race and had a .324 average entering the final day. Kemp led the NL with 124 RBIs, and the Yankees’ Curtis Granderson topped the AL with 119, one more than teammate Robinson Cano and two in front of Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez.

Cincinnati’s Drew Stubbs struck out 205 times, ending Mark Reynolds three-year run as strikeout king. Adam Dunn of the White Sox hit just .159, but didn’t play Wednesday and finished with 496 plate appearances, six shy of qualifying. The post-1900 record low among qualifiers was set by Rob Deer at .179 in 1991.

Eugenio Velez of the Dodgers entered his last game 0 for 36, a record for at-bats by a position player without a hit, topping Hal Finney’s 0 for 35 with Pittsburgh in 1936. Hitless in 45 at-bats since May 2010, Velez tied the modern record for non-pitchers shared by Pittsburgh’s Bill Bergen (1909), Dave Campbell of San Diego and St. Louis (1973) and Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell (this season).

Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki had 184 hits, ending his record streak of 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons. While Starlin Castro (206) was assured of the NL hits title, Young (212), and Gonzalez and Red Sox teammate Jacoby Ellsbury (both 211) all had a chance in the AL.

Bautista (.608) and Braun (.601) led in slugging percentage, and Bautista (.447) and Cincinnati’s Joey Votto (.416) topped on-base percentage, with Votto on track to top the NL for the second straight season.

Atlanta’s Michael Bourn had 59 steals and will lead the NL for the third straight year, while Oakland’s Coco Crisp and the Yankees’ Brett Gardner shared the AL lead with 49.

Among pitchers, Detroit’s Justin Verlander at 24-5 had the most wins in the majors since Arizona’s Randy Johnson in 2002. Verlander also won the AL ERA (2.40) and strikeouts (250) titles, becoming the first winner of a pitching triple crown since San Diego’s Jake Peavy in 2007.

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