Pujols hits 660th career homer, ties Mays for 5th place
DENVER — Albert Pujols hit his 660th career homer, tying the Los Angeles Angels slugger for fifth on the all-time list with Willie Mays.
Pujols launched a fastball from Colorado Rockies reliever Carlos Estevez into the empty seats in left field Sunday at Coors Field for a two-run drive in the eighth inning.
Pujols’ teammates congratulated him in the dugout after he gave the Angels a 4-3 lead.
It was his first homer since Aug. 4.
The 40-year-old Pujols now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696) on the career home run list.
Estevez became the 426th different pitcher that Pujols has taken deep. Only Bonds has homered against more pitchers (449).
It’s the latest milestone for Pujols, who hit his 669th carer double in the sixth inning Saturday to pass Craig Biggio for fifth on that list.
The three-time MVP and 10-time All-Star did most of his homer damage during his 11 seasons in St. Louis, where he hit 445 before leaving town after the 2011 season. While in a Cardinals uniform, he swatted 40 or more home runs six times, with his best season being 2006 when he hit 49 homers and drove in a career-high 137 runs. He left for Southern California at age 32 with a 10-year contract and seemed a lock to join the 700-home run club.
But injuries have slowed his pace later in his career. Pujols has averaged 26 home runs per season over the past eight years with the Angels. His best home run season with the Angels was in 2015 when he hit 40.
Pujols, who has one season left on his contract with the Angels after 2020, has gone deep four times this season.
For a power hitter, Pujols doesn’t strike out often. His high was 93 in his rookie season and in 2017. In 2006, he nearly had as many homers (49) as strikeouts (50).
It was his 12th homer at hitter-friendly Coors Field. His most road homers have been at Houston’s Minute Maid Park, where he’s hit 31.
The pitcher he’s taken deep the most often? That would be Ryan Dempster, who gave up eight homers to Pujols.
Rockies manager Bud Black said Pujols’ place in history is already secured.
“One of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time,” Black said. “There’s no doubt about that. There were periods in his career where he amassed statistics that are comparable with the greats of all time.
“Years from now when we talk about Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and you transfer to next generation, the Mike Schmidts and then into the Jim Thomes and more of the modern era, Albert will be in the same conversation with the greats.”
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