Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career | Inquirer Sports

Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career

/ 05:11 PM April 23, 2014

Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols watches his three-run homer, against Washington Nationals starting pitcher Taylor Jordan, clear the fence during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. AP

WASHINGTON—Albert Pujols smiled as he explained why he felt the need to apologize to his wife for hitting home run No. 500 so quickly after No. 499.

She planned to be there in person once he got within one of the milestone.

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He didn’t give her the chance.

Pujols became the first major leaguer to hit his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, connecting twice and driving in five runs in the Los Angeles Angels’ 7-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. He’s the 26th player in Major League Baseball history to reach 500.

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“I went and made a phone call and I called her, and she was doing her nails. And everybody in the salon, I guess, was telling her, ‘Congratulations!’ And she was like, ‘Did you just hit your 500th?’ I was like, ‘I’m sorry,'” Pujols said with a laugh.

“She would have loved to be here with my kids and my family. She drives me every day to try to be a better person, a better player. I would have loved to share this moment with her here.”

Hitting like the Pujols of old, the three-time National League Most Valuable Player delivered a three-run homer in the first inning and two-run drive in the fifth, both off Taylor Jordan (0-3).

He also hit his 400th homer at Nationals Park.

“I admire his ability and the way he goes about playing the game, and I have for some time,” said Washington manager Matt Williams, who played against Pujols. “I just wish he’d do it against somebody else.”

About three months past his 34th birthday, Pujols is the third youngest to get to 500; Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx were 32.

Pujols has eight homers in the past 13 games and leads the Angels with 19 RBIs.

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After a couple of down-for-him years with the Angels following 11 transcendent seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols appears ready to reclaim his spot among the game’s elite hitters. He homered on Friday and Saturday at Detroit to lift his total to 498, and he’s reached the round number of 500 — a total that remains hallowed despite losing luster lately because so many players surpassed it.

Of the 26 members of MLB’s 500-homer club, 11 reached the mark in the last 15 years, according to STATS. Gary Sheffield was the previous player to do it, in April 2009.

“You don’t see 500, obviously, every night,” Pujols said. “It’s been a great career.”

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TAGS: Albert Pujols, Career, home run, Los Angeles Angels, MLB, Sports
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