St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols hit two home runs Sunday to push his career total to 683. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
May 23 (UPI) -- Albert Pujols hit two home runs in an 18-4 St. Louis Cardinals blowout of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The duo of dingers brings the future Hall of Famer to within 13 homers of Alex Rodriguez for fourth in MLB history.
Pujols went deep in the fifth and ninth innings of the 14-run victory Sunday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader also homered.
Second baseman Nolan Gorman gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead with an RBI double in the top of the first. Bader, shortstop Tommy Edman, designated hitter Nolan Arenado and right fielder Brendan Donovan drove in six more runs in the second.
The Cardinals carried an 11-0 lead into the top of the fifth. Pirates relief pitcher Chase De Jong retired Edman and Gorman to start the half-inning. Pujols then stepped into the box to pinch hit for Arenado.
De Jong missed the zone with a slider to start the exchange. He then tossed in a 92.8-mph fastball.
Pujols picked the bat up off his shoulder and smashed that offering deep to left field for a solo homer. That blast traveled 106 mph off his bat and flew an estimated 425 feet, according to Statcast.
Cardinals third baseman Edmundo Sosa drove in another run with an RBI double in the top of the eighth. Bader followed with a two-run homer in the top of the ninth for a 15-0 lead.
Edman doubled in the next at-bat. Pirates relief pitcher Josh VanMeter then walked Gorman to put two runners on base for Pujols' final at-bat. VanMeter earned an 0-2 lead in the count with two called strikes. He then missed the zone with a fastball.
Pujols hit his final offering -- a 71.1-mph fastball -- back to left field for a three-run homer. That ball traveled an estimated 403 mph and gave the Cardinals an 18-0 advantage.
The Cardinals let veteran catcher Yadier Molina pitch the final half-inning. Molina allowed a solo homer to Pirates first baseman Yoshi Tsutsugo in his first exchange. The Pirates scored their second run on a ground out from third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes.
Center fielder Jack Suwinski hit a two-run homer off Molina in the next at-bat for the final runs of the game.
Edman, Gorman and Donovan each recorded three hits in the victory. Infielder Michael Chavis went 2 for 3 for the Pirates.
Pujols went 2 for 3 with four RBIs and two runs scored in the blowout. He is now hitting .231 with four homers and 12 RBIs this season. Pujols, 42, owns a career .297 average with 683 homers, 3,316 hits and 2,162 RBIs.
He ranks No. 11 on the all-time hits list, No. 4 in total bases, No. 5 in doubles, No. 3 in RBIs and No. 2 in intentional walks. The oldest active player in MLB is 31 home runs behind Babe Ruth for third all-time. Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron lead the all-time homers list with 762 and 755, respectively.
The Cardinals (23-18) host the Toronto Blue Jays (22-19) at 7:45 p.m. EDT Monday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Pirates (16-24) host the Colorado Rockies (19-21) at 6:35 p.m. at PNC Park.