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Cardinals' Adam Wainwright: Albert Pujols 'Incredible' After 16th Career Grand Slam

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 19, 2022

Albert Pujols (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright celebrated the "incredible" Albert Pujols after the future Hall of Famer delivered a pinch-hit grand slam in Thursday's 13-0 win over the Colorado Rockies.

"He looks the same as when he left to me," Wainwright told reporters. "This is what he's supposed to look like, here, this stadium, doing these things."

Pujols returned to the Cardinals, where he played from 2001 through 2011, in March to play the final season of his career following stints with the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers.

His 690 home runs rank fifth in MLB history, six behind fourth-placed Alex Rodriguez, and his 16 grand slams are tied for 10th all-time with Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Dave Kingman.

Pujols, 42, is no longer the dominant force he was during his first stint with the Cardinals, when he rightfully earned the nickname "The Machine" en route to earning a then-record 10-year, $254 million contract from the Angels.

He's quietly provided solid value for St. Louis this season, though. He's recorded an .814 OPS with 11 homers and 35 RBI across 68 appearances.

"I think at the end of the day, just being part of a great organization, a great group of guys that want to win, young players they're watching, I'm blessed to be here, and just help those guys out," Pujols said. "It's fun, trust me."

His contributions are one of the many reasons the Cards have overcome a sluggish start and surged to the top of the NL Central with a 66-51 record.

Wainwright, 40, is another, as he's continued to pitch at a high level deep into his own career. He delivered seven scoreless innings in Thursday's triumph over the Rockies to lower his season ERA to 3.11, which ranks 21st in MLB.

That play from two franchise legends combined with MVP-level contributions from the likes of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado have the Cards trending toward World Series-contender status.

It's unclear whether Pujols will get enough at-bats down the stretch to pass A-Rod on the HR list, but his legacy is already secure, and he can only add to it from this point forward.

St. Louis is back in action Friday night as it opens a three-game road series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

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