Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels became 26th player in Major League Baseball history to reach 500 career home runs Tuesday night in Washington, D.C. In the process, he set another mark: He is the first to blast his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, as the Angles defeated the Washington Nationals, 7-2.
And the only problem with that was that his wife was not there to witness history. She had planned to travel with the team when he was one dinger away from the milestone. Neither of them considered that he’d hit two home runs in the same night.
”I went and made a phone call and . . . she was doing her nails,” Pujols said. “And everybody in the salon, I guess, was telling her, ‘Congratulations!’ And she was like, ‘Did you just hit your 500th?’ I was like, ‘I’m sorry,’ ” Pujols said, laughing.
”She would have loved to be here with my kids and my family. She drives me every day to try to be a better person, a better player,” he added. ”I would have loved to share this moment with her here.”
Hitting like the Pujols of old, the three-time NL MVP delivered a three-run homer in the first inning and two-run drive in the fifth, both off Taylor Jordan (0-3).
”I knew this year, it was going to happen, whether it was tonight, tomorrow, two months from now,” Pujols said.
He also hit his 400th homer at Nationals Park.
”I admire his ability and the way he goes about playing the game, and I have for some time,” said Washington manager Matt Williams, who played against Pujols. ”I just wish he’d do it against somebody else.”
About three months past his 34th birthday, Pujols is the third-youngest to get to 500; Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx were 32.