Albert Pujols hits 500th homer of career
Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols connects for a two-run homer against Washington Nationals Taylor Jordan in the fifth inning of a baseball game in Washington, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. This was Pujols 500th career home run. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols (5) begins to circle the bases after hitting his career 500th home run against Washington Nationals Taylor Jordan in the fifth inning of a baseball game in Washington, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON – Albert Pujols hit the 500th home run of his career last night, becoming the 26th player in major league history to reach that 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.
The 34-year-old Pujols is the first player to collect his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, according to STATS.
He has eight homers this season, all in the past 13 games.
The 500th went to left-center field at Nationals Park, on an 89 mph 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 Pujols 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. He homered Friday and Saturday in games at the Detroit Tigers to lift his career total to 498, and now he’s reached the round number of 500 – a total that remains hallowed despite losing its luster in recent years because so many players have surpassed it.
Of the 26 members of the 500-homer club, 11 have reached the mark in the last 15 years, according to STATS. Gary Sheffield was the most recent player to do it, hitting No. 500 on April 17, 2009.