By Jacob Grandstaff
Angels Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols faces the Seattle Mariners tonight, at 9:10 PM Eastern, in what will likely be remembered as the defining moment of his career. The 38-year-old touched off his 2,999th hit last night against the Baltimore Orioles, and now has the chance to join Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Álex Rodríguez as only the fourth player in Major League Baseball history to reach 600 home runs and 3,000 hits.
Pujols reached hit number 2,998 on Wednesday when he doubled and homered against the Orioles. Last night, Angels fans rose to their feet and roared with each of his five at-bats, hoping to capture the magic moment on their phones if he reached the 3,000 benchmark in the home stadium.
Alas, it was not to be.
Although he hit a line drive double down the left-field line in the second inning that sent two runners home, he came up short his next three times at bat. Orioles pitcher Miguel Castro hit him in the fourth, and Pujols fouled and flied out after that.
Although Pujols failed to reach the milestone at home, his Angels more than delivered to their loyal fanbase, stomping the Orioles 12-3. It could have been much worse for the Orioles, but the Angels scored all 12 runs in the first four innings—Pujols’s teammates sharing in his unlucky end-of-game performance.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen tonight,” said Pujols after the game.
It didn’t happen this week. I had some opportunities to make it happen here. At the end of the day, it is not about me. It’s whenever the Lord wants. His time is perfect. My time is not.
Whenever that time comes and Pujols breaks into the elite 600-homer/3,000-hit clique, it will likely come during an away game. A two-game series against the Rockies next week follows the Angels’ three-game series against the Mariners.
Pujols will face Mike Leake tonight in Seattle. Pujols has hit .364 against Leake in 13 plate appearances.