LOS ANGELES — Albert Pujols hit the second of two home runs Friday night at Dodger Stadium as he broke into the 700-homer club, a milestone that was It was reached in the fourth inning by right-hander Phil Bickford.
Pujols, 42, who has said this is the last season of his 22-year career, joins Barry Bonds (762 homers), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) as AL/ The only heavy hitter in . He hit at least 700 long balls in his career in NL history. Pujols and Aaron are the only two with at least 3,000 hits and 700 home runs.
After circling the bases, Puyols went straight to Adrian Beltre for a five-pointer. He was then greeted outside the lounge by his Cardinals teammates. Not only did the crowd at Dodgers Stadium give him a standing ovation, the Cardinals slugger was greeted with “Pu-jols! Pu-jols! Pu-jols” and “Al-bert! Albert! Albert!”
Puyols hit No. 699 in the third inning against left-hander Andrew Heaney, and Dodgers head coach Dave Roberts headed to Bickford’s bullpen before Puyols played. He then hit another long ball from Bickford into Club No. 700.
Puyols also hit his 499th and 500th homers in the same game for the Angels against the Nationals in Washington on April 22, 2014.
Friday’s home runs were Puyols’ 20th and 21st of the season. The veteran slugger joins Aaron (20) and Bonds (19) as the only players to hit 20 or more home runs in at least 18 seasons. It was his fourth multi-home run game of the season and his 61st with at least two home runs in a game.
Pujols’ second pitcher also extended his AL/NL record to 455 pitchers with 455 home runs in his career. He came into the season second only to Bonds (449), but he passed him on Aug. 29 in Cincinnati and went on to extend the record with a string of home runs after the All-Star break.
Puyols hit 698 on Friday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis to help the Cardinals bounce back from a three-point deficit and beat the Reds. Before he hit No. 699, five of Puyols’ previous six homers either tied the game or put the Cardinals ahead. Plus, there’s this statistic that backs up Pujols’ importance to the Cardinals to the top of the NL Central: Before Pujols hit his 699th homer, the Cardinals didn’t have a chance to hit his 699th home run. The game went 15-1. He went 3-0 with two home runs.
In the days following No. 698, Puyols went 0-for-9 in the next three games, which kept him from getting close to 700 in front of a sold-out crowd at Busch Stadium. Some 94,977 fans packed Busch Stadium for Saturday’s doubles game, hoping to see Pujols’ number reach 700. Another 47,909 fans — including the Cardinals’ 26th sellout of the season and the sixth largest in Busch Stadium III’s 16-year history — attended Sunday’s game, only to see Puyols and the Cardinals The team was turned away.
It’s no surprise that Pujols’ 699th and 700th home runs came on the road. Before No. 699, he had hit 11 homers on the road this season — and two of his three twos — compared to the hot, humid air at Busch Stadium. There were only 8 home runs. Puyols hit more road homers (369) than homers (331) in his career.
In his major landmark home runs, Puyols hit his first home run (2001), his 100th (2003) and 500th (2014) on the road. He now has 466 homers as the Cardinals, 222 as the Angels and 12 as the Dodgers.
After slashing .215/.301/.376 with six homers, 20 RBIs and a .676 OPS in the first half of the season, Pujols has started to resemble the fearsome slugger he was early in his career. In the first 47 games of the second half, he hit .313/.377/.657 with 13 homers, 33 RBIs and 1.034 OPS. Pujols had just 4 home runs through June, then launched 3 and 8 in July and August. 699 was his fifth homer of September.