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Albert Pujols simply wants two extra home runs to place himself in certainly one of sports activities’ most unique fraternities — the 700 home run membership.
The 42-year-old blasted his 698th career home run Friday evening. The blast additionally tied the St. Louis Cardinals’ recreation towards the Cincinnati Reds at 4-4.
The strain of 700 has not even come near affecting Pujols. In reality, he has been thriving in the mean time.
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Entering the season, Pujols wanted 21 homers to achieve a feat nobody has achieved since Barry Bonds did Sept. 17, 2004. With Pujols’ subpar play in current years (.700 OPS since 2017 and averaging 18 homers per season in that span with the Angels and Dodgers), it appeared considerably unlikely.
But, since mid-July, he is been among the finest hitters in baseball.
In his final 47 video games, he’s a .324 hitter with 15 home runs, 35 RBI, and a 1.086 OPS. With that stretch, he has raised his common from .198 to .264 and his OPS from .624 to .865.
These final a number of homers have additionally been clutch. Five of his final six home runs have both tied a recreation or given the Cardinals a lead. His 697th on Sunday, a two-run shot, gave the Cards a 3-2 lead in the highest of the ninth inning towards the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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The Cardinals have 17 video games for him to get two homers. If he retains up his present tempo since July 10 for the ultimate homestretch, he’ll end with 703 career home runs.
Where as soon as it appeared Pujols had solely an out of doors shot of reaching the mark, it might virtually appear shocking now if he did not.
In his closing at-bat of Friday’s recreation, Pujols got here simply toes away from 699, nevertheless it was a fly out to the warning monitor. It would have been a home run in 10 different stadiums.
The Cardinals received the sport 6-5, and Ryan Helsley earned the save with an immaculate inning.
Pujols wasn’t the one Cardinal chasing historical past this yr. Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina simply broke the all-time MLB document for many begins by a battery. Wainwright threw the primary pitch of a recreation to Yadi Wednesday for the 325th time in his career.
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Pujols will retire on the finish of the yr, together with Molina. Wainwright has not publicly introduced his plans past this season.
When Pujols signed with the Cardinals in the offseason, it appeared like nothing greater than a correct farewell tour, ending his career the place all of it started.