NEW YORK (AP) — Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera won his second straight American League Most Valuable Player award Thursday, once again beating Angels outfielder Mike Trout by a comfortable margin.
A year after winning the Triple Crown, Cabrera came back to lead the majors in hitting at .348 and finish second with 44 home runs and 137 RBIs.
Cabrera got 23 of 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He became the first player to win consecutive AL MVPs since Frank Thomas for the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and 1994.
"This is unbelievable," Cabrera said in an interview on MLB Network. "I'm so excited right now."
Albert Pujols won the NL MVP in 2008 and 2009. This year's NL prize was to be presented later Thursday.
Trout got five first-place votes and came in second. Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, who led the majors with 53 homers and 138 RBIs, was third. Davis and Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson each received a first-place vote.
Cabrera took his third AL batting title in a row. He also drew a $1 million bonus for winning his second MVP during his current contract with the Tigers.
"I was so nervous because it was a great competition," he said.
The 30-year-old third baseman from Venezuela easily captured the AL MVP last year when he hit .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBIs. Cabrera topped Trout 22-6 in first-place votes in that balloting.
Trout hit .323 with 27 homers and 97 RBIs this year, stole 33 bases and led the AL in runs and walks.
The Tigers have virtually owned the major postseason awards during a three-year run of success. Justin Verlander was the MVP and Cy Young winner in 2011, Cabrera took the MVP last season and Detroit ace Max Scherzer won this year's Cy Young Award on Wednesday.
Cabrera clearly was baseball's most dominant hitter for most of the season as the Tigers won the third straight AL Central crown.
But an assortment of injuries hobbled him down the stretch and into the playoffs, and he had surgery after the season to repair a groin tear. Cabrera is expected to be ready for spring training.
Voting for the BBWAA awards was done before the playoffs. Cabrera hit .262 with two homers and seven RBIs in 11 postseason games, and made a couple of key outs in Detroit's six-game loss to Boston in the AL championship series.
Cabrera was in contention for a second straight Triple Crown for much of the year, and was hitting .359 with 43 homers and 130 RBIs through Aug. 26. He managed only two extra-base hits in his next 25 games through the end of the regular season.
An eight-time All-Star, Cabrera missed several games after the break because of a bad back, a sore left flexor, a strain in his lower abdomen, shin trouble and the groin problem.
Despite the injuries, Cabrera became the first right-handed hitter to win three straight batting titles in either league since Rogers Hornsby in 1920-25.
Cabrera also kept amazing his teammates with his prowess at the plate.
In mid-August, he homered in all three games of a series at Yankee Stadium, twice connecting off career saves leader Mariano Rivera.
His shot in the opener was the most impressive, even though Detroit eventually lost. After fouling two balls off his left shin, Cabrera was having trouble standing in the batter's box when he tagged Rivera for a tying, two-run drive with two outs in the ninth inning.
Cabrera had bedeviled the Yankees before. As a 20-year-old rookie, he helped the Marlins beat New York in the 2003 World Series.