Albert Pujols blasted career home run No. 698 at the perfect moment for the Cardinals proving his chase for 700 is as much about the team as the individual.
Albert Pujols is just two home runs from joining the elite 700 club.
On Friday night, he came through with No. 698 against the Reds, dishing a 427-foot homer into the left-field stands.
The moment the ball left his bat, the Cardinals crowd and the MLB world knew it was gone.
Pujols is planning to retire at the end of this season, so he has a limited window to continue racking up the home runs that will put him in league with Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. He’s already passed Alex Rodriguez for the fourth most home runs of all time.
Albert Pujols is hitting meaningful home runs in chase for 700
While the chase for 700 is thrilling enough, Pujols seems intent on spicing things up by only hitting homers at the most timely moment. He’s not wasting swings in blowouts. He’s hitting meaningful shots that have giving the team the chance to win games.
Derrick Goold laid that out on Twitter, pointing out how Pujols’ most recent three homers all tied games or put St. Louis ahead.
The 42-year-old is ready to retire, but he’s not playing like he needs to. Since Aug. 10, he has the most home runs in the National League, three more than Mookie Betts and Paul Goldschmidt, per Jayson Stark.
The Cardinals may need Pujols to deliver No. 699 before Friday is over. Shortly after the legend gave his team the tie, Cincinnati responded with their own home run to regain the lead in the top of the seventh.
St. Louis has a 7.5-game lead in the NL Central, so a playoff berth isn’t in the balance but they’re still looking to clinch the division sooner than later.