With one mighty swing of his bat Albert Pujols took one step closer to another baseball milestone as he collected his 2,999th career hit with a double, but ended the game going 1 for 4 with two RBIs.
Albert Pujols already has 600 + career home runs and he was hoping to add 3,000 career hits to his resume on Thursday night at Angel Stadium, but it was not in the cards. Pujols seems like he is making history almost every game. If Albert Pujols was not in the Hall of Fame already, reaching 3,000 hits will pretty much cinch it for the Machine.
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This is the third major milestone Albert Pujols will reach in an Angels uniform as he already has hit his 500th and 600th home runs as a Halo. With the 12-3 victory the Angels have now won three straight games over the Orioles in sweeping the series to even their homestand record with three wins and three losses.
The Angels started early scoring five runs in the first inning off of starter Chris Tillman. In the second inning the Angels plated three more runs, two courtesy of Albert Pujols’ two-run double which was hit number 2,999. The Angels didn’t stop there scoring four more runs in the fourth inning on a bases-loaded double by Andrelton Simmons which was followed by a two-run single by Luis Valbuena which gave the Angels a 12-0 lead.
Pujols was hit by a pitch on a 2-2 inside fastball by the Orioles Miguel Castro in the fourth inning. Pujols would later come around to score on the Simmons double. This was Pujols first at-bat with 2,999 hits. On his second attempt Pujols popped out to first in the sixth inning.
The beneficiary of the Angels offensive uprising was rookie starter Jaime Barria who was called up to replace Nick Tropeano/Shohei Ohtani’s place in the rotation for this turn. Barria with the win picked up his second career major league victory and is now 2-1 lowering his ERA to 3.46.
In a subplot to Pujols’ chasing history, Barria carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before the Orioles Trey Mancini broke it up with a one out single to center. Barria ended up giving up two runs on four hits in six innings of work with two strikeouts and two walks.
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Justin Upton continued to show he is out of his two and a half week slump going three for four with one RBI and scoring three runs. Mike Trout went two for five with two RBIs and two runs scored. Andrelton Simmons and Luis Valbuena also drove in three runs a piece in the rout. Shohei Ohtani was two for three with an RBI and two runs scored as well. Every Angel in the lineup except catcher Martin Maldonado had at least one hit in the game.
However, the story of the night was Albert Pujols. With his wife Deidre watching from the stands Pujols came up one last time hoping to make history in the 8th inning against former Angel Darren O’Day. The crowd of 35,890 were on their feet, but unfortunately Pujols could not deliver flying out to right field to end his night.
Pujols will continue his quest for that final hit to reach 3,000 on Friday night in Seattle against the Mariners Mike Leake. Pujols is 4 for 11 for his career against Leake.
When Pujols gets his next hit he will join Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Alex Rodriguez as the only four players in baseball history to record 3,000 hits and also club 600 home runs in their career. When Albert reaches 2,000 RBIs which should be late this season as he is 65 RBIs away, Pujols will join Hammerin’ Hank Aaron as the only player in MLB history to have 600 homers, 600 doubles, 3,000 hits and 2,000 RBIs.
Unfortunately for Angel fans unless they make the trip to Seattle this weekend they will have to watch Albert Pujols most likely get hit number 3,000 in Seattle. Whenever it happens it will be a special night for Pujols and the Angels. Stay tuned.