HomeSportsPujols joins 700 home run club with some HRs

Pujols joins 700 home run club with some HRs

LOS ANGELES — Albert Pujols shot his way into the exclusive 700 homerun club when he hit the second of two homeruns on Friday-evening at Dodger Stadium, reaching the milestone in the fourth inning off righthander Phil Bickford.

The 42-year-old Pujols, who has said this is the last season of his 22-year career, joined Barry Bonds (762 home runs), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) as the only sluggers in AL/ NL history to hit at least 700 long balls in his career. Pujols and Aaron are the only two with at least 3,000 hits and 700 home runs.

After circling the bases, Pujols went straight to his family to high-five through the net. He was then greeted outside the dugout by his Cardinals teammates. Not only did the crowd at Dodgers Stadium give him a standing ovation, the Cardinals slugger was greeted with chants of “Pu-jols! Pu-jols! Pu-jols” and “Al-bert! Albert! Albert!”

Pujols hit number 699 against lefthanded pitcher Andrew Heaney in the third inning and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went to the bullpen for Bickford before Pujols stepped up to the plate. Then he hit another long ball from Bickford to move to the No. 700 club.

Pujols also hit his 499th and 500th home runs in the same game for the Angels against the Nationals in DC on April 22, 2014.

Friday’s home runs are 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 home runs. It was his fourth multi-home run of the season and the 61st time he hit at least two home runs in a game.

Pujols’ second dinger also extended his AL/NL-record to 455 pitchers homered during his career. He finished second in the season after Bonds (449), but he passed him on August 29 in Cincinnati and continued to break the record with a series of home runs after the All-Star break.

Pujols hit home run No. 698 at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium last Friday to help the Cardinals clear a three-run deficit and beat the Reds. Before hitting number 699, five of Pujols’ previous six home runs had been to tie the game or give the Cardinals the lead. There’s also this stat to back up how important Pujols has been to the Cardinals’ climb to the top of the NL Central: Prior to Pujols’ 699th home run, the Cardinals were 15-1 in the games he’d homered in and 3- 0 when he hit two home runs.

In the days after number 698, Pujols was 0-for-9 in the next three games, unable to get closer to 700 in front of the sold-out crowd at Busch Stadium. Some 94,977 fans packed Busch Stadium for Saturday’s doubleheader in hopes that Pujols would go to 700. An additional 47,909 fans — including the Cardinals’ 26th sale of the season and the sixth largest crowd in Busch Stadium III’s 16-year history — attended Sunday’s game only to see Pujols and the Cardinals shut out.

It should come as no surprise that Pujols’ 699th and 700th home runs came on the road. For number 699, he had hit 11 home runs on the road this season — and had two of his three two-home runs — compared to just eight home runs in the hot, humid air of Busch Stadium. In his career, Pujols has hit more road homers (369) than home blasts (331).

Among his most significant home runs, Pujols scored his first home run (2001), his 100th (2003) and 500th (2014) while playing on the road. He now has 466 home runs as a Cardinal, 222 as an Angel and 12 for the Dodgers.

After beating .215/.301/.376 with six homeruns, 20 RBI’s and a .676 OPS in the first half of the season, Pujols has since started to look like the dreaded slugger he was much earlier in his career. He cut .313/.377/.657 with 13 home runs, 33 RBIs and a 1.034 OPS in his first 47 games of the second half. Pujols had only four home runs through June before launching three in July and eight in August. No. 699 was his fifth home run of September.

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