The St Louis Cardinals clobbered the Texas Rangers 16-7 to take a 2-1 lead in the World Series on Saturday as Albert Pujols blasted three home runs in the greatest World Series offensive display ever.
Pujols, a three-time National League MVP, rewrote the Fall Classic record books with his 5 for 6 night at the plate.
He tied New York Yankees sluggers Babe Ruth, who accomplished the feat twice, in 1926 and 1928, and Reggie Jackson in 1977, as the only players to hammer three home runs in a World Series game.
The power-hitting Cardinals first baseman also tied the mark for most hits in a World Series game (five), tied the record for most runs batted in (six) and set a new standard for total bases (14).
“It was just a great team win. Everybody contributed,” Pujols said, before grudgingly adding: “Obviously, it’s a blessing to be able to do that today.”
Pujols had gone 0 for 6 in the first two games of the series before his sensational break-out night at the plate.
Texas manager Ron Washington said Pujols was so dangerous, he should be “outlawed.”
After stroking singles in the fourth and fifth innings, he blasted a three-run homer off reliever Alexi Ogando in the sixth that turned an 8-6 lead into an 11-6 bulge.
Pujols added home runs in his next two at-bats, clearing the wall in center for a two-run homer in the seventh and going deep to left-center for a solo shot in the ninth.
A 1-0 game in favor of the Cardinals through three innings turned into a slugfest the remainder of the way.
St Louis erupted for 13 runs between the fourth and seventh innings to bury the Rangers, with Pujols playing a lead role.
Texas had answered four runs by St Louis in the fourth with three in their half of the inning and matched the Cardinals’ three runs in the fifth to make it 8-6. However, the Cards scored four more runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to turn it into a rout.
The starters from both teams, Kyle Lohse of St Louis and Matt Harrison of Texas, were gone by the fourth.
St Louis pulled away against Ogando, who had been brilliant for the Rangers in the ALCS.
Coming on in the sixth with the score 8-6, Ogando walked two and gave up three hits and four runs in one-third of an inning, including a mammoth, three-run blast by Pujols off a high fastball.
The Cardinals stroked 15 hits and took advantage of six walks issued by Texas pitchers and three Rangers errors. Texas had 13 hits in the game and stranded eight base runners.
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