Taylor Jordan made his 13th career start Tuesday night, but ensured that his name will live on long after his career is over. Jordan served up Albert Pujols’ 499th and 500th career home runs, making him the 26th player in Major League history to reach the milestone.
J.B. Shuck led off with a double and Mike Trout reached on an error, setting the table for ‘The Machine.’ Jordan threw an off-speed pitch down the middle and Pujols wasn’t fooled. His 499th homer easily cleared the left field wall and gave the Angels a 3-0 lead.
In the fifth, Pujols took Jordan yard again, this time to the deepest part of Nationals Park. His teammates met him at home plate and, in an act of respect, the Nationals and their fans applauded the 13-year veteran as he savored the moment. Pujols (34-years-old) is the third youngest player to reach the 500 home run mark and holds the fourth highest batting average (.321) among the club’s members; trailing Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and Jimmie Foxx.
“You don’t seek 500 every night but you still have to respect the opposite team. I know we still had a game to play and it tasted a litter sweeter that we got the win,” Pujols said in a post-game interview with Jose Mota of Fox Sports West. He added, “It’s a feeling. And I had a good feeling that it was going to be a special night.”
Pujols is on his most productive stretch since making Anaheim his home. He’s batting .360 over the last week, going 9-for-25 with four homers, 10 RBIs, and his first stolen base since last summer. The five RBIs off Jordan were his most all season.
Lost in the Angels’ 7-2 victory was Tyler Skaggs’ performance. The left-hander limited Washington to three hits in seven innings. After suffering a fourth inning meltdown last week, Skaggs overcame a similar situation and limited the damage to two runs. The Nationals loaded the bases in the third, but Skaggs got Jayson Werth to chase a fastball that turned into an inning ending double play.
The Angels guarantee a series victory and look for their first sweep of the season tomorrow night.