WASHINGTON – Albert Pujols reached 500 homers in a hurry.
The Angels’ first baseman became the first major leaguer to hit his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, driving in five runs to help Los Angeles beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 Tuesday night.
The three-time NL MVP connected twice off Taylor Jordan (0-3) – a three-run homer in the first inning and two-run drive in the fifth – to become the 26th player in big league history to reach the milestone.
It tastes better with a win, Pujols said. I knew this year, it was going to happen, whether it was tonight, tomorrow, two months from now. So my goal was just to prepare myself every day to try to help this organization win.
Pujols is the first player to collect his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, according to STATS. About three months past his 34th birthday, he’s also the third-youngest to get to 500; Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx were both 32.
Making a quick recent surge, Pujols has eight homers this season, all in the past 13 games. His five RBI on Tuesday gave him the team lead with 19.
The homers he’s hit this year, they’ve been long ones. He’s squaring balls up, Angels outfielder Mike Trout said. That’s the Albert I’m used to seeing. Full, healthy, 100 percent healthy.
The 500th homer went to left-center field at Nationals Park, on an 89 mph pitch with the count at 1-2.
That pitch was supposed to be low and away, Jordan said, and I guess I tried too hard to get it there.
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.
I was pretty emotional running the bases, Pujols said.
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.
To have more than 19,000 players who wore a big league uniform and to have only 26 players to do this, it’s pretty special, Pujols said.
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.
At a news conference, Pujols smiled as he said: Now we’ve got to start on the next milestone, I guess.