Albert Pujols' career has some pretty complete highlights, so when it's the best game of his postseason career you better believe he's done something pretty impressive. He and the St. Louis Cardinals took all the joy out of the Brew Crew tonight as they out-beasted the beasts 12-3.
It started with Pujols first at bat, when with John Jay on first he belted a home run to left field for a two-run blast. His next time up runners were on first and second and Pujols hit a two-run double. His third time there was only one runner on base and he hit a one-run double. His next time up no one was on base when he hit his fourth extra -base hit of the game, another double.
In all, when everything settled, Albert Pujols was 4-for-5 with 10 total bases, five RBI and three runs scored.
It's not like he was the only one doing damage for the Cardinals, though. Jay was 3-for-5 with three runs scored. Yadier Molina was 2-for-5 with an RBI and and two runs. David Freese left the park and added another RBI single. Lance Berkman, Ryan Theriot, Matt Holliday and even Edwin Jackson also all got into the scoring act.
If there was any tension in the game it can only be loosely applied. With the Brewers trailing 7-2 the Brewers loaded up the bases in the fifth inning and had Ricky Weeks at bat. Lance Lynn came on in relief and induced a double play of sorts.
While Weeks was called out, he clearly wasn't. It was, without question, a bad call. Having said that, it made little difference in the final result of the game. Apart from that, few Cardinals fans are going to have sympathy for a bad call going their way at first.
In the course of the game Pujols hit several milestones. He is now the NLCS all-time leader in home runs (nine), RBI (23) and total bases (72). He is also now third all time in the NLCS in hits with 38.
He stands alone as the Cardinals' postseason home run leader, breaking a tie with Jim Edmonds. He is not eighth all-time in postseason home runs overall and the National League's all-time leader.
Additionally, he is tied for eighth all time in RBI and is tied for second most runs batted in NL postseason history. Finally, his 136 total bases in the postseason move him up to 10th all time in MLB history and second all time in NL history.
Pujols needs just 15 more total bases and five more RBI to become the NL's all-time postseason leader in both categories.
Another record within Pujols' reach is the postseason record for doubles in one postseason. With one more he'll tie the single postseason record of seven, presently shared by four players. With two he will have it by himself.
Finally, he is also now in the top 10 all time in postseason runs scored with 44. Only Chipper Jones has more runs among National League players.
Much is being made of the fact that Pujols is headed to free agency this offseason and how it could drive up his price. The fact is that this might be the best thing that could possibly happen for the Cardinals. A red-hot playoff run and a World Series win would justify his asking price financially for the team.
As great as his regular-season accomplishments have been, as he keeps piling up postseason numbers and all-time records, it may in the end be those things that justify the extra money. In addition, as Pujols as stated the main thing he wants is to be a winner,
Nothing can scratch that itch better than actually winning. Certainly winning another championship with the team would not only endear Pujols even more to the Cardinals nation, but the Cardinals team even more to Pujols, as well.