Holy. Albert Pujols of the Louis Cardinals joined the 700 club with a two home run day

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LOS ANGELES — Albert Pujols became the fourth member of the 700 home run club on Friday night when he launched two home runs in front of a packed Dodger Stadium crowd.

The first homer — a 434-foot, two-run drive into left field — came off Dodgers left-hander Andrew Heaney in the third inning. The second shot went to Phil Pickford in the fourth ball for three runs. At that time St. Louis led the Cardinals 5-0, and Pujols drove in all of his team’s runs.

After crossing home plate, Pujols ran back to embrace his longtime rival and close friend, Adrien Beltre. Moments later, he finds Yadier Molina and wraps him in a tight hug.

Pujols, coming off the final season of a Hall of Fame career, joins Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth in the 700 home run club. He was the only one among them to score the number. 699 and 700 on the same night. Pujols now has 2,208 career RBIs, just six shy of tying Ruth for second all-time.

It’s fitting that the 42-year-old designated hitter reached the incredible milestone here at Dodger Stadium, which he has often said played a big role in motivating him to play one final season in 2022.

Pujols, who joined the Dodgers last May shortly after being released from the Los Angeles Angels, has had a renaissance over the past five-plus months while serving as a part-time starter and late-game pinch-hitter. He was effective against left-handers and he was a huge influence in a senior clubhouse that affectionately called him “Dio Albert”.

Before the game, Julio Urias, Hanser Alberto, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Will Smith and Dave Roberts played a montage for Pujols. Pujols and Molina were presented with golf bags commemorating their final seasons, and Pujols later took the mic to thank Dodgers fans and their organization.

“It makes me so happy, not just for me, but for my family,” Pujols said in a pregame media address when asked what the atmosphere at Dodger Stadium meant to him. “I think that brought something out in me, the kid was missing that part of the game again.”

Pujols’ final season saw him play his best baseball. He entered Friday’s game at bat. Run list. His rise coincided with the Cardinals practically running away from the rest of the National League Central.

Pujols began this season as a platoon option at DH, but he has emerged as one of the Cardinals’ most consistent hitters and is essentially an everyday player as they enter the postseason.

Pujols now has 21 home runs on the year, giving him 18 20-homer seasons, third all-time behind Aaron (20) and Bonds (19). He tied Ted Williams as the only player to hit 20 home runs in both their first and final seasons. After reaching age 42, he owns the most multi-homer games in major league history with four.

“I don’t chase numbers,” Pujols said earlier this week. “I wasn’t chasing 100, I got 698. It’s the same thing — trusting my process.”

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