1 of 5 | St. Louis Cardinals veteran Albert Pujols (pictured) trails only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth on the all-time home runs list. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Albert Pujols not only helped the St. Louis Cardinals win with the latest mammoth home run of his remarkable 2022 campaign, but he also made MLB history, passing Alex Rodriguez for the fourth-most on the all-time list.
Pujols pummeled the 2-0 fastball for career homer No. 697 in the ninth inning of the 4-3 win Sunday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. He trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in career long balls.
"I'm blessed and honored to have my name in that sentence," Pujols told Bally Sports, when asked about his new placement on the home run list. "It's a blessing."
Pujols went 1 for 4 with two RBIs, a run scored and a strikeout. He is now hitting .266 with 18 homers and 48 RBIs in his final season.
The Pirates led the Cardinals 2-0 through eight innings. Shortstop Tommy Edman led off the ninth with a double to center field. Left fielder Corey Dickerson plated Edman two pitches later with a line drive double to right field.
Pujols walked to the plate for the next at-bat against Pirates relief pitcher Chase De Jong. De Jong missed the strike zone with a curveball and a slider to start the exchange. He then tossed a four-seam fastball outside, upper corner of the zone.
Pujols reached his bat out and connected with the 93.4 mph offering, sending a rocket to center field. The two-run blast traveled an estimated 403 feet and sped 105.5 mph off his bat, according to Statcast.
"I was just trying to hit the ball the other way," Pujols said. "I'm glad it went out of the ballpark."
Cardinals right fielder Lars Nootbar grounded out in the next at-bat. Fellow outfielder Tyler O'Neill hit a 410-foot solo homer four pitches later to give the Cardinals a 4-2 edge.
Pirates right fielder Greg Allen hit a 348-foot solo homer off Cardinals relief pitcher Ryan Helsley for the final run of the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Helsley then forced Pirates pinch hitter Ben Game to fly out in the final at-bat of the game to earn his 16th save of the season.
Edman went 2 for 4 with a run scored for the Cardinals. Allen went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI in the loss. Left fielder Jack Suwinski went 1 for 4 with a home run for the Pirates.
The Cardinals won two of three games in the National League Central series. They lead the division by eight games over the second-place Milwaukee Brewers. The Pirates are in last place.
St. Louis Cardinals standout rookie Albert Pujols (5) signs autographs before a game with the Montreal Expos at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on April 25, 2001. Pujols has become the team leader and a fan favorite, hitting a .377 batting average, with six home runs and 19 runs batted in his rookie season. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
The Cardinals (83-58) will host the Brewers (75-66) at 7:45 p.m. EDT Tuesday in St. Louis. The Pirates (51-88) will face the Cincinnati Reds (56-82) at 6:40 p.m. EDT Monday in Cincinnati.