St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols launched the 696th home run of his career Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates (GameTracker), moving him into a tie with Alex Rodriguez for the fourth-most in Major League Baseball history.
Pujols delivered his home run, a two-run shot that tied the game at 3-3, in the sixth inning versus right-hander J.T. Brubaker. Here's the blast in all its color television glory:
According to Statcast, Pujols' home run had an exit velocity of 111 mph and traveled some 418 feet.
Pujols entered Saturday's contest hitting .258/.333/.500 (137 OPS+) with 16 home runs and 43 runs batted in over the course of his first 88 games this season. He's been red-hot since the start of the second half. In his first 35 contests since the All-Star Game, he hit .326/.387/.695 with 10 home runs in 106 plate appearances.
Pujols recently reaffirmed his intent to retire following this season, regardless of how many home runs he has or how close he is to reaching the 700 mark. Pujols would seem to still have a chance to become the fourth player ever to cross the 700-home threshold, but he will not move higher than fourth all-time:
1. Barry Bonds, 762
2. Henry Aaron, 755
3. Babe Ruth, 714
T-4. Albert Pujols, 696
T-4. Alex Rodriguez, 696
The Cardinals would seem to be in a favorable position to give Pujols more playing time over the remaining few weeks of the season. They entered Saturday with an eight-game lead in the division, giving them ample breathing room over the Milwaukee Brewers. What's more is that the Cardinals will not face the toughest slate of opponents: they have five games remaining against the Cincinnati Reds and another six to go versus the Pirates.