Pujols Blasts No. 500
Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols (5) steps out of the visitors dugout to acknowledge the applause from the crowd after hitting his career 500th homer run against Washington Nationals Taylor Jordan in the fifth inning of a baseball game in Washington, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Washington — Albert Pujols reached 500 homers in a hurry.
The Angels first baseman became the first major leaguer to hit his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, driving in five runs to help Los Angeles beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 Tuesday night.
The three-time NL MVP connected twice off Taylor Jordan (0-3) — a three-run homer in the first inning and two-run drive in the fifth — to become the 26th player in big league history to reach the milestone.
Pujols is the first player to collect his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, according to STATS. About three months past his 34th birthday, he’s also the third-youngest to get to 500; Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx were both 32.
Making a quick recent surge, Pujols has eight homers this season, all in the past 13 games. His five RBIs on Tuesday gave him the team lead with 19.
The 500th homer went to left-center field at Nationals Park, on an 89 mph pitch with the count at 1-2. Pujols clapped his hands together a few strides before trotting home, then pointed both index fingers to the sky. As soon as he touched the plate, Pujols was greeted by his Angels teammates, who streamed over from the visiting dugout.
Fans gave Pujols a partial standing ovation, and he acknowledged the spectators by tipping his red batting helmet as he approached the dugout. After heading down the steps, he came back out for a curtain call.
In other at-bats Tuesday, Pujols struck out swinging in the second inning and grounded to shortstop in the seventh.
Tyler Skaggs (2-0) gave up two runs in seven innings for the win. Jordan allowed six runs and eight hits in five innings. Washington entered the game with a majors-worst 22 errors and third baseman Anthony Rendon added two to that total.
Rays 7, Twins 3
St. Petersburg, Fla. — David Price allowed six hits in his first complete game of the season, David DeJesus drove in three runs, and Tampa Bay beat Minnesota.
Price (3-1) struck out 12 in his ninth career complete game.
Blue Jays 9, Orioles 3
Toronto — Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera each hit three-run homers in the eighth inning and Toronto beat Baltimore.
Royals 8, Indians 2
Cleveland — James Shields allowed two runs in six innings and Mike Moustakas hit a three-run homer to lead Kansas City over Cleveland.
Tigers 8, White Sox 6
Detroit — Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer, Justin Verlander pitched seven solid innings and Detroit held on for a victory over Chicago.
Marlins 1, Braves 0
Atlanta — Jose Fernandez matched his career high with 14 strikeouts in eight innings and combined with Steve Cishek on a three-hitter as Miami shut out Atlanta.
Fernandez (3-1) outpitched Atlanta’s Alex Wood (2-3), who also was dominant. Wood allowed four hits and one run with no walks and a career-high 11 strikeouts in eight innings.
Reds 4, Pirates 1
Pittsburgh — Johnny Cueto tossed his second three-hitter against the Pittsburgh in a week and Cincinnati eased past the struggling Pirates.
Cardinals 3, Mets 0
New York — Adam Wainwright threw seven neat innings before leaving with a knee injury, and Jon Jay hit a two-run single that sent the Cardinals over the Mets.
Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 2
Chicago — Jason Hammel pitched seven strong innings, Mike Olt hit a three-run homer and Nate Schierholtz drove in a pair of early runs to lead Chicago over Arizona.
Hammel (3-1) allowed just one run and four hits in seven innings to lower his ERA to 2.60.