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Cardinals' Albert Pujols Joins MLB's 700 HR Club with 2 Homers vs. Dodgers

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 24, 2022

AP Photo/Ashley Landis

St. Louis Cardinals legend Albert Pujols became just the fourth player in MLB history to hit 700 career home runs after smacking a pair of long balls against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

Pujols' first blast was a two-run shot off starting pitcher Andrew Heaney in the third inning to give the Redbirds a 2-0 lead.

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No doubt about number 699 for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AlbertPujols?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AlbertPujols</a>! <a href="https://t.co/2Ns3ueuzcn">pic.twitter.com/2Ns3ueuzcn</a>

One inning later, the 22-year MLB veteran deposited a Phil Bickford pitch over the wall for a three-run bomb that put the Cardinals up 5-0.

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The moment Albert Pujols joined the 700 Home Run Club!<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/MLB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLB</a>)<a href="https://t.co/RLUAg9pgNA">pic.twitter.com/RLUAg9pgNA</a>

Pujols has now joined the exclusive 700-homer club, which consists of Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

The 42-year-old Pujols, who is retiring after this season, has enjoyed a phenomenal closing act to a Hall of Fame career.

The three-time National League MVP and 11-time All-Star entered Friday with 19 home runs, 53 RBI and an .845 OPS in 100 games.

He has notably mashed left-handed pitching all year to the tune of 12 homers, 28 RBI, a .352 batting average and 1.144 OPS before Friday's road game in L.A.

Pujols insists that this is his last year in the bigs, even though he's enjoying a fantastic season and would realistically have a chance at passing Ruth on the home run list in 2023.

"I'm still going to retire, no matter whether I end up hitting 693, 696, 700, whatever," Pujols told Bob Nightengale of USA Today last month.

"I don't get caught up in numbers. If you were going to tell me 22 years ago that I would be this close, I would have told you that you're freakin' crazy. My career has been amazing."

Pujols did end up hitting the 700-homer mark, and he has 10 more regular-season games after Friday to pad his career total. The Cards have two more matchups with the Dodgers before a pair against the Milwaukee Brewers and six more games versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols dominated over the first 10 years of his career, all of which came with the Cardinals. He sported a 162-game average of 41 home runs and 123 RBI and batted .331 alongside a 1.050 OPS from 2001-2010.

Pujols spent the 2011 season with St. Louis but left in free agency for the Los Angeles Angels in 2012.

He didn't enjoy the same success out west, but the first baseman stayed productive through the back half of his career (including a 2015 All-Star appearance) and found his way back home to St. Louis for one of the greatest closing acts in baseball history.

But the book on Pujols' career isn't closed just yet.

The two-time World Series champion should also have one final postseason act as well, as St. Louis currently holds a seven-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for the NL Central crown. The Cardinals appear destined for the National League's No. 3 seed, and Pujols' power certainly gives St. Louis a shot at winning its 12th World Series.

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