Thu, Apr 24, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Albert Pujols hits his 500th homer

AP, WASHINGTON

Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, left, hits a homer against the Washington Nationals in their National League game in Washington on Tuesday.

Photo: Tommy Gilligan-USA Today

Albert Pujols hit the 500th home run of his career on Tuesday, becoming the 26th player in major league history to reach the milestone.

The Los Angeles Angels’ first baseman did it with a pair of shots off Washington Nationals right-hander Taylor Jordan, a three-run homer in the first inning and two-run drive in the fifth.

Pujols is the first player to collect his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, according to STATS.

At 34, he is also the third-youngest to get to 500 — Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx were both 32.

Pujols has eight homers this season, all in the past 13 games.

The 500th homer went to left-center field at Nationals Park, on an 143kph pitch with the count at 1-2. Pujols clapped his hands together a few strides before trotting home, then pointed both index fingers to the sky. As soon as he touched the plate, Pujols was greeted by his Angels teammates, who streamed over from the visiting dugout.

Fans gave the three-time National League Most Valuable Player a partial standing ovation and he acknowledged the spectators by tipping his red batting helmet as he approached the dugout. After heading down the steps, he came back out for a curtain call.

After a couple of down-for-him years with the Angels following 11 transcendent seasons with the St Louis Cardinals, a healthier Pujols appears ready to reclaim his spot among the game’s elite hitters.

Of the 26 members of the MLB 500-homer club, 11 have reached the mark in the past 15 years.

“It’s huge. That’s a lot of balls over the fence. That’s a lot of them. Albert’s one of the great hitters of this generation,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said before his team’s series against the Angels. “The ability to not only hit home runs, but the ability to hit .330 and drive in 100-plus every single year — that’s saying something. That’s the ultimate guy you want on your team, because he provides it all.”

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