Cards’ Pujols joins 700 club with two-homer day

Cards’ Pujols joins 700 club with two-homer day

LOS ANGELES — Albert Pujols hit two home runs Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers to become the fourth player in major league history to join the distinguished 700 home run club.

Pujols launched home run No. 699 in the third inning, a 434-foot, two-run shot to left-center field off left-hander Andrew Heaney that gave the St. Louis Cardinals a 2-0 lead. His 700th home run, another two-run blast, came an inning later.

The Cardinals are playing their 152nd game of the season. The team plays two more in Los Angeles, then a two-game series in Milwaukee before returning to St. Louis for its final homestand of the regular season, a three-game set.

Pujols’ two homers give him 2,207 RBIs for his career, seven away from tying Ruth for the second most all time.

Pujols’ final season has seen him play some of his best baseball down the stretch. He entered Friday’s game batting .313/.378/.657 with 13 home runs and 33 RBIs in 47 second-half games, during which he passed Alex Rodriguez (696) for sole possession of fourth place on the all-time home runs list. His surge has coincided with the Cardinals practically running away from the rest of the National League Central.

Pujols now has 18 20-homer seasons, third most in major league history behind only Aaron (20) and Bonds (19). He joins Bonds as the only players ever with 20 homers at age 42 or older, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

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