Albert Pujols is most certainly back.
Not to be outdone by his own performance in Saturday afternoon’s 12th-inning victory over the rival Cubs, the Cardinals first baseman slugged a second straight walkoff home run on Sunday in a thrilling 3-2 extra-innings win for St. Louis.
The Cards swept the three-game series.
Albert’s 10th-inning blast sailed high into the left-center field bleachers. He admired the shot for several seconds at home plate before trotting around the bases slowly and dancing down the third base line into a jumping huddle of Cardinals players. It’s quite clear: he’s feelin’ it.
That’s now four homers in three games for Pujols, and two of the game-ending variety.
Pujols ended the month of May with a .267/.336/.419 batting line. Just five games into June, he’s now hitting .278/.353/.473. His OPS has jumped from .745 to .826 in less than a week.
Cubs manager Mike Quade told reporters on Sunday morning that he didn’t sleep Saturday night after making the decision to pitch to Pujols in the 12th inning. Somebody may want to pass him some Ambien for the plane ride to Cincinnati, because he made an almost identical decision on Sunday afternoon in the 10th.
The Cardinals are now 11 games above .500 and alone atop the National League Central standings.
More than a month after the Home Run Derby, Logan Morrison continues to eat crow for his comments concerning Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez. Back in July, Morrison said of Sanchez, who was invited to the Derby, “Gary shouldn’t be there. Gary’s a great player, but he shouldn’t be in the Home Run Derby.” He added, referring to their home run totals at the time, “I remember when I had 14 home runs. That was a month and a half ago.”
On Tuesday evening against the Tigers at Comerica Park, Sanchez absolutely demolished a 2-1 change-up from Matt Boyd in the top of the first inning for a two-run home run.
The ball was measured at 493 feet, the second-longest blast of the season, according to Statcast. Statcast also notes that it’s the longest home run at Comerica Park since 2015 and Sanchez beat his previous career-long by over 40 feet.
Sanchez now has 24 home runs on the year and 67 RBI. He entered the night batting .270/.346/.519 in 382 plate appearances.
Diamondbacks catcher Jeff Mathis has an avulsion fracture in his right hand, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. As Piecoro explains, an avulsion fracture is when a ligament comes off of the bone and pulls fragments of bone with it.
Mathis is likely done for the season, but he wants to see hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan, per Piecoro. He suffered the injury on Monday when he was hit in the hand with a foul tip.
Mathis, 34, hit an uninspiring .213/.276/.322 in 200 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks, but was a plus defensively. Chris Iannetta and Chris Herrmann will handle catching duties with Mathis out for at least a while.