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Cardinals Albert Pujols hits 700th career home run to become fourth Major League player to achieve historic achievement

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LOS ANGELES — St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run on Friday night, making his second drive of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and becoming the fourth player to reach the milestone in Major League history .

The 42-year old Pujols hit Number 699 in the third inning, then launched Number 700 in the fourth at Dodger Stadium.

With the drive in the closing days of his last big league season, Pujols joined Barry Bonds (762 homeruns), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs.

It was a remarkable run for Pujols. This was his 14th homerun since early August for the NL Central leading Cardinals, and his 21st of the season.

Pujols’ historic homerun was a three-run shot against Phil Bickford, the Dodgers reliever. The ball landed in the first few rows of the left field pavilion, the same location where his two-run shot hit lefthander Andrew Heaney the previous inning.

Pujols received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd – he finished last season playing for the Dodgers. He took a curtain call and raised his cap in confirmation.

The fans chanted “Pujols! Pujol!” They finally sat down after being on their feet while waiting to see the history.

Pujols broke a tie with Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the list when he hit career homer No. 697 against Pittsburgh on September 11.

Reaching 700 home runs looked like a chance for Pujols when he hit .189 on July 4. But the three-time NL MVP started to find his way in August, hitting seven home runs in one 10-game stretch that helped St. Louis win away in the division race.

“I know that early in the year…I obviously wanted better results,” said Pujols after taking a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on August 22. “But I felt like I hit the ball hard. Sometimes this game will take more from you than the game gives you back.

“So I think in the end you have to be positive and just stay focused and trust your work. That’s something I’ve always done.”

Pujols has enjoyed another season after returning to St. Louis in March on a $2.5 million one-year contract. It is his highest total since hitting 23 home runs for the Angels in 2019.

He plans to retire when the season is over.

Pujols also started his career in St. Louis. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 amateur game and won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2001.

The native of the Dominican Republic hit at least .300 with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s in each of his first 10 seasons. He helped the Cardinals win World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

He set a career high with 49 home runs in 2006 – one of seven seasons with at least 40 home runs. He led the majors with 47 home runs in 2009 and led the NL with 42 in 2010.

Pujols left St. Louis at large in December 2011 and signed a $240 million contract with the Angels for 10 years. He was waived by the Angels in May 2021, then joined the Dodgers and hit 12 home runs and netted 38 runs in 85 games.

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