(Reuters) - The American League MVP race continued to heat up on Wednesday as joint-favorites Josh Donaldson and Mike Trout each strengthened their case for the award.
Toronto All-Star Donaldson and Los Angeles Angels reigning MVP Trout are currently the front-runners to capture the honor with the duel almost certain to extend through the final month of the regular season.
Donaldson guided the Blue Jays to a 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians in his latest effort, flashing the speed and power-hitting that has kept him in the conversation all season.
The third baseman went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, with the highlight coming when he blazed home to score from third on a pop-up fly that barely cleared the infield.
Donald, 29, has ascended to new heights this year after being traded from the Oakland Athletics in the off-season. He leads the Majors with 111 RBIs and is batting .304 with 36 home runs.
More importantly, the Blue Jays have surged to the top of the American League East since the All-Star break and have compiled a 76-57 record.
Trout, the Angels electrifying outfielder should not be counted out just yet, however.
The 24-year-old seems to find himself in contention for the game’s best player trophy every year and for good reason. After adding two hits and a run in the Angels’ 9-4 triumph over Oakland on Wednesday, Trout is now batting .297 with 33 home runs and 74 runs batted in.
If Trout were to seize the trophy again, he would become the second straight player to repeat as winner after Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera snagged AL honors in 2012-13.
However, Trout appears to have plenty of work to do to outpace Donaldson but still has one month to leave his mark.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien