Angels — Albert Pujols He entered the exclusive 700-home run club when he drilled the second of two home runs Friday night at Dodger Stadium, hitting the milestone in the fourth inning off right-hander Bill Pickford.
Pujols, 42, said it was the final season of his 22-year career, joining Barry Bonds (762 home runs), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) as the only sluggers in the AL/. NL history hitting at least 700 long balls in his career. Pujols and Aaron are the only two players to have at least 3,000 hits and 700 home runs.
After rounding the bases, Pujols went straight to Adrien Beltre and high-fived him through the net. He was then greeted outside the dugout by his Cardinals teammates. Not only did the Dodgers Stadium crowd give him a standing ovation, but the Cardinals slugger was chanted “Bu-Jols! Pu-Jols! Bu-Jols” and “Al-Pert! Al-Bert! Al-Bert!”
Pujols hit a home run in the third inning against left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney at no. 699 and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went to the bullpen for Pickford before Pujols stepped to the plate. He then smashed another long ball from Pickford to take club number 700.
Pujols hit his 499th and 500th home runs in the same game against the Angels in DC on April 22, 2014.
Friday’s home runs were Pujols’ 20th and 21st of the season. The veteran slugger joins Aaron (20) and Bonds (19) as the only players with at least 18 seasons of 20 or more homers. It was his fourth multi-home run game this season and the 61st time he has hit at least two home runs in a game.
Pujols’ second dinger extended his AL/NL hitting streak to 455 pitchers in his career. He finished second to Bonds (449) on the season, but he passed him on Aug. 29 in Cincinnati to set the record for the post-All-Star break home run streak.
Pujols hit home run no. 698, helping the Cardinals rally from a three-run deficit to defeat the Reds. He is no. Before hitting .699, five of Pujols’ previous six home runs had tied the game or put the Cardinals ahead. And there’s this stat to back up just how important Pujols has been to the Cardinals’ climb to the top of the NL Central: Before Pujols’ 699th homer, the Cardinals were 15-1 in games he homered. In 3-0 events while hitting two home runs.
No. In the days following 698, Pujols went 0-for-9 over the next three games, preventing him from approaching 700 in front of a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium. 94,977 fans packed Busch Stadium hoping to see Pujols’ tally reach 700 — who attended Sunday’s game only to see Pujols and the Cardinals exit.
It should come as little surprise that Pujols’ 699th and 700th home runs came on the road. No. 699 before, he had hit 11 home runs on the road this season — and in two of his three two-homer performances — compared to just eight homers in the hot, humid air of Busch Stadium. In his career, Pujols has hit more road homers (369) than home blasts (331).
Among his major milestone home runs, Pujols hit his first home run (2001), his 100th (2003) and his 500th (2014) on the road. He now has 466 homers as a Cardinal, 222 as an Angel, and 12 with the Dodgers.
After slashing .215/.301/.376 with six homers, 20 RBIs and a .676 OPS in the first half of the season, Pujols began to resemble the feared slugger he was much earlier in his career. He slashed .313/.377/.657 with 13 homers, 33 RBIs and a 1.034 OPS in his first 47 games in the second half. Pujols had just four homers through June before hitting three in July and eight in August. No. 699 was his fifth home run in September.