Barry Bonds will get some new company in the 700 Home Run Club

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Albert Pujols appeared like a protracted shot in early August to achieve 700 home runs, still more than a dozen swings from the hallowed mark and his power stroke all however gone.

Or so it appeared.

Now displaying the pop of his youth within the last weeks of his profession, the 42-year-old slugger obtained there with two long photographs.

Pujols hit his 700th residence run, connecting for his second drive of the sport and turning into the fourth participant in main league history to make it to the milestone because the St. Louis Cardinals routed the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-0 Friday night time.

Pujols joined Barry Bonds (762 homers), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in one of baseball’s most unique golf equipment.

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“Don’t get me mistaken, I know the place my places stand in this sport, however since Day One once I made my debut, I was by no means about numbers, by no means about chasing numbers,” Pujols said. “It was all the time about successful championships and tried to get higher in these games.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts gladly gushed about Pujols’ accomplishment.

“This is like the Mount Rushmore of sluggers, so to succeed in that 700-home run mark, it’s remarkable,” Roberts mentioned.

A man carrying a blue Dodgers shirt with Hideo Nomo’s No. 16 on the back snagged the 700th homer ball. He was whisked beneath the stands as he clutched a black glove containing the historic souvenir ball to his chest. Prolonged negotiations went on before the person was escorted out of Dodger Stadium flanked by 10 security personnel and into a waiting SUV.

“Souvenirs are for the followers,” Pujols stated. “I don’t have any problem in the event that they want to keep it. That’s why the followers come here, to have a particular moment of historical past.”

Stirring up images of his dominant days as a three-time NL MVP, Pujols hit No. 699 in the third inning, then launched No. 700 in the fourth.

A 37-year-old Los Angeles man, Cesar Soriano, snagged No. 699. He turned the ball over to security after being told he might meet Pujols.

It’s been a remarkable and resurgent run for Pujols. This was his 14th residence run since the start of August for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, and his 21st of the season.

Roberts marveled at the improbability in July of Pujols making historical past in late September.

“I wouldn’t doubt him, however the stars appear to sort of have to align for it to play out like this,” Roberts mentioned. “I don’t assume Albert even thought it was a risk.”

Now, no one wants to surprise if Pujols would’ve come back for a number of additional swings next yr had he completed this season at 699 or so.

Pujols took additional pleasure in making his mark at Dodger Stadium, the place he stated he regained his joy for the game whereas with the Dodgers final season.

“It’s fairly particular, especially with the Dodgers fans, to do it here,” Pujols stated. “And, you get to see either side, they get to enjoy this and to do it in a Cardinals uniform is really special.”

Pujols’ historic homer was a three-run shot in opposition to reliever Phil Bickford. The ball landed within the first couple rows of the left-field pavilion, the same location his two-run shot touched down the previous inning off left-hander Andrew Heaney.

“At first, I was upset … after which when the crowd reacted and seen all the grins, it was a very particular moment for MLB,” Bickford said. “Albert Pujols is amongst the most superb people I’ve ever met.”

Pujols jogged across the bases smiling all the finest way. After crossing the plate and pointing his fingers skyward, Pujols went over to greet fellow Dominican Republic and former Dodgers star Adrian Beltre. They high-fived by way of the protective netting.

Then he was off to the Cardinals dugout, getting hugs and congratulations every step of the method in which.

Pujols obtained a protracted standing ovation from the group — he completed out final season while enjoying for the Dodgers. He took a curtain call, raising his cap in acknowledgment.

The crowd of 50,041 chanted “Pujols! Pujols!” The fans lastly sat down after being on their feet in anticipation of seeing historical past.

Later in the Cardinals clubhouse, his teammates “gave me slightly bathe, a little toast,” Pujols stated.

Pujols’ 700th homer gave him a couple of different good, round numbers, too — he has hit 500 house runs off right-handers and 200 off lefties.

His achievement was celebrated beyond Chavez Ravine.

At Chase Field in Phoenix, the San Francisco Giants had been meeting on the mound when the 700th homer was proven on the videoboard, prompting veteran third baseman Evan Longoria to applaud, along with the Diamondbacks’ crowd.

At Target Field in Minneapolis, Shohei Ohtani pitched the Los Angeles Angels to a win after which stated by way of an interpreter: “I’m actually glad he received to 700. … It was an honor to be a teammate of his. He’s raking this 12 months, so it feels like he’s obtained much more left within the tank.”

Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez tweeted about his fellow star from the Dominican: “You are the man!!”

Pujols related twice on the identical night New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge remained on deck for home run historical past. He remained at 60 homers, just short of tying Roger Maris’ AL mark of 61 in 1961, in a win at Yankee Stadium.

Lars Nootbaar, Juan Yepez and Alec Burleson also homered for St. Louis.

Pujols struck out swinging in his first at-bat against Heaney and grounded out to quick within the sixth. He was changed within the eighth by Burleson, who added a pinch-hit homer.

José Quintana (6-6) got the victory. He scattered 5 hits over 6 2/3 innings and struck out six.

Cardinals outfielder Corey Dickerson pitched the ninth. With the bases loaded, he retired Trayce Thompson on a flyball to end the game.

Heaney (3-3) was tagged within the most-lopsided loss this 12 months for the NL West-leading Dodgers.

Pujols snapped a tie with Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the profession listing when he hit career homer No. 697 towards Pittsburgh on Sept. 11.

Batting .189 on July 4, Pujols began to search out his stroke in August, swatting seven homers in a single 10-game stretch that helped St. Louis pull away in the division race.

Pujols has loved a productive season after returning to St. Louis in March for a $2.5 million, one-year contract. It’s his highest whole since he hit 23 homers for the Angels in 2019.

He plans to retire when the season ends.

Pujols began his career in St. Louis. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 13th spherical of the 1999 novice draft and gained the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year award.

He has hit at least .300 with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in every of his first 10 seasons. He helped the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

He set a career high with 49 homers in 2006 — considered one of seven seasons with at least 40 homers. He led the majors with 47 homers in 2009 and topped the NL with 42 in 2010.

Pujols left St. Louis in free company in December 2011, signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels. He was waived by the Angels in May 2021, and then joined the Dodgers and hit 12 homers and drove in 38 runs in 85 games.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: All-Star RHP Tony Gonsolin (forearm) will throw two innings in a rehab task Tuesday for Triple-A Oklahoma City. … LHP David Price (wrist) will throw to reside hitters once more in a pair days.

HONORING ALBERT AND YADI

The Dodgers honored Cardinals teammates Pujols and catcher Yadier Molina, each of whom are retiring at season’s end.

The gamers were greeted by a standing ovation when they strode to house plate earlier than the game. Their career highlights have been proven on the stadium’s huge screens.

Both gamers had been offered with white golf luggage earlier than Pujols took the mic and thanked his former teammates and fans for treating him nicely during his lone season in LA last yr.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: LHP Jordan Montgomery (8-5, 3.26 ERA) makes his second street begin with the group since coming from the Yankees. He tossed a one-hit shutout in his other one in opposition to the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 22 in a 1-0 victory.

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (9-3, 2.39) makes his 20th start of the season. He has 117 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings.

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AP freelance writer Jolene Latimer contributed to this report.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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