ANAHEIM -- History is always special to see, and nearly every time Los Angeles Angels slugger, Albert Pujols, steps in the batter's box, it's bound to occur. In Monday night's 6-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals, Pujols saw his name climb in the charts towards history, passing one of the game's immortals.
Along with Pujols' stellar night, Mike Trout hit a monstrous home run, and Garrett Richards kept the defending World Champs to one run, which went unearned. Richards collected his first win of the season, even without his best stuff on the mound.
The first game of the series proved to be a poignant victory for the Angels, as they posted six runs against the Royals' top pitcher, Ian Kennedy, and held the loaded offense to just one run, strictly due to top notch pitching.
Albert Pujols hits two home runs, passing Reggie Jackson for 13th all-time
The first of a pair came in the third inning, with a 1-1 fastball being sent to the sculpted rocks being left center field. The home run gave the Angels a 4-0 cushion over the Royals, and gave Pujols his 564th career home run.
"It's special," said Angels' manager, Mike Scioscia. "For us that have been in the game a long time, and coaching, it means more because you know the guys that he's passing. The guys playing hear the name, but don't get the whole impact of what this man is doing, and it's fun to watch."
The night wasn't over for Pujols though, as he clobbered another fastball, this time with a full-count, to the bullpen beyond the left field fences. It was the 52nd career multi-home run game in Pujols' career, and 10th in a Halos' uniform.
"I thank the lord to give me the opportunity to accomplish what I have accomplished in the game," said Pujols. "To be able to put my name with those legends in baseball before me, it's very special. Couldn't have thought in my entire life I'd be able to do that. I've done some crazy things in this game, and passed some unbelievable names but I try not to really stay focused on that."
It's become a cliche that Pujols doesn't desire to dwell on the names he passes, or the numbers he puts up, as long as he helps his team win. That was the case on Monday night, and Pujols still maintained that humble attitude following the game.
"My focus is to win this organization a championship this year, that's why Arte brought me here. He didn't bring me here to try and pass all those guys, he brought me here to try and help this organization to win, and that's what I try to do over the last five years here and I'm gonna try and do that over the rest of my contract until I'm done playing."
Garrett Richards goes six and two-third innings, allowing one unearned run
Just three Royals hitters were able to collect a hit off Richards over his workload, with the loan run coming as unearned due to a fielding error. Richards collected the statisical win, his first of the year, and gave him 15 wins in his last 22 decisions.
"It's nice to get the first one out of the way," Richards said. "I feel like everybody else is pitching well and I gotta keep it going. Just trying to get us a win."
Richards did walk five batters over his course of work, which was the seventh time in his last 12 starts to see four or more walks allowed. However, in those 12 starts, only two saw him go less than six innings. Without his best stuff, Richards was still able to pitch well and attain the win.
"To be honest, tonight was pretty shaky. Effectively wild I guess. I would love to cut down on the walks, I'm not happy about that, but Carlos called a great game and we did just enough to contain them for the first six and two/third innings."
BY THE NUMBERS:
- Angels rank third, behind the Royals and White Sox, for games with two or fewer runs allowed with eight
- Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit home runs in the same game for the 26th time
- Andrelton Simmons has not struck out in his last 30 plate appearances; over his last 1,000 times to the plate, he's K'd just 89 times
- Ian Kennedy had allowed just three runs in his first 20 innings of the season, and matched that total in the first inning
- For the first time since their second game, the Royals were held to one run or fewer
- Eric Hosmer now has a 15-game hit-streak and has reached base in 26 straight
PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Albert Pujols, 2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R
The accolades speak for themselves. Pujols is among some of the greatest that ever played the game. Tonight, he did something only one player ever was able to do - hitting his 564th and 565th career home runs on the same night, the other was Babe Ruth (ESPN Stats)
"His resume speaks for itself," said Richards. "It's been cool the last few years playing with him. We get to see #500, and he's continuing on and hopefully he'll get to #600 soon."
Pujols has yet to do the math on if he can reach Ruth's 714 career home run mark, or even higher to Hank Aaron (755) or Barry Bonds (762). It's something he just leaves for the scribes.
"I leave that to you guys so you can have something to do," Pujols said. "If I'm done playing then maybe, but I don't like to do that when I'm done playing"
QUICK BOX SCORE:
Mariners, 1 (12-7); Angels, 6 (9-11)
W - Garrett Richards (1-3, 2.35)
L - Ian Kennedy (2-2, 2.77)
Time of Game : 2:59
First Pitch/Temp : 7:08pm PST / 60 degrees
Attendance : 31,061
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