With the game on the line in the ninth inning Sunday afternoon at PNC Park, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols continued his magical final season, hitting his 697th career home run. That swing launched him past Alex Rodriguez for sole possession of fourth place all time on the all-time home run list.
Pujols jumped the third pitch he saw from Pirates closer Chase De Jong and sent it to the deepest part of the ballpark, where it was just able to sneak over the center field wall and give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead. They would win the game, 4-3, and claim the series with two come-from-behind wins.
The home run ultimately landed 403 feet from home plate, launching off the bat at 101.1 mph.
PNC Park has been a historically friendly ballpark to Pujols, who has now tallied 34 homers at the Pirates home grounds, more than any active Pirates’ player.
Pujols had been on a tear of late, hitting 12 of his 18 home runs this season since the All-Star break. But his streak of success has not been exclusive to just home runs, flexing his best OPS since departing the Cardinals 10 years ago.
The home runs he has been hitting have not been empty calories either, as they’re game-winning or game-tying home runs in back-to-back games.
Pujols will now try to do what once seemed impossible, reach the 700 home run plateau that now sits just four homers away. Only three players have ever reached that mark: Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), and Babe Ruth (714).
Including postseason home runs, Pujols has 716 career home runs.