And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 12, White Sox 3:  Well, I was supposed to be at this one.  Instead, my 9:30 AM flight to New York turned into a 12:08 PM flight which then turned into a 3:30 PM flight through Philly, which then turned into a 5:17 PM flight through Philly that was highly unlikely to allow me to make the connection to New York at all last night, let alone in time to see the ballgame. So I made the decision any wise man would make: I called my mom, had her pick me up from the airport and drive me back home so I could at least sleep in my own bed rather than some Philadelphia Ramada Inn.  Not that I ever got too mad or complained too greatly. The same storm system that mildly inconvenienced me killed hundreds the day before so, no, complaining was not exactly the order of the day. OK, some very mild, perspective-laden complaining. But I felt guilty about it afterward.

As you’re reading this on Friday morning I am (cross my fingers!) en route to New York, this time for real. It’s a flight so early that — apologies — this edition of ATH is a slightly truncated one. I’ll be sure to refund your money at my earliest convenience.

As for the Yankees-Sox game: this was one of the more Edwin Jackson starts you’ll ever see. He had a no-hitter going for a while but was still down 2-0. Then it went downhill because Edwin Jackson basically has no idea where the ball is going. 91 pitches in four innings. Quite the trick.

Giants 5, Pirates 2: The species known as Ryan Vogelsongia displays a combination of long life cycles, a seven-year periodicity, and mass emergences. They are closely-related to locusts, but they are not locusts at all, as locusts belong to the order Orthoptera. The nymphs of Ryan Vogelsongia live underground at depths of 30 cm or more, feeding on the juices of plant roots. They stay immobile and go through five development stages before constructing an exit tunnel in the spring of their 7th year, at which time they give up two runs on four hits while striking out eight in five and two-thirds innings.

Rays 15, Twins 3; Rays 6, Twins 1: Ben Zobrist certainly ate his Wheaties yesterday. Eight RBI in the first game and another two in the nightcap.

Indians 8, Royals 2: The Royals sent the worst regular starting pitcher in the history of baseball out to face the first place Indians and achieved the expected results.

Blue Jays 5, Rangers 2: It was a 2-2 tie from the third inning on, but then Darren Oliver got knocked around in the ninth. If you can call having Corey Patterson lay down a bunt RBI single and having Adrian Beltre and Oliver combine for the most confusing and ugly-looking two-run, two-error play you’ll ever see “being knocked around.” The Jays take three of four from Texas.

Mariners 7, Tigers 2: I watched some of this on the laptop while hating life at the airport.  Michael Pineda has seriously nasty stuff. He’s going to throw a no-hitter someday. Or strike out 18 dudes or something.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 2: Jon Lester’s mastery of Baltimore continues. A 3 for 5, 2 RBI day for Adrian Gonzalez, who is starting to heat up.

Nationals 4, Mets 3: The Mets’ winning streak ends as Livan Hernandez hangs ’em out to dry for eight innings. Like he as some kind of launderer or something.

Cardinals 11, Astros 7: Five RBI for Lance Berkman against his old team. Take that, Milo Hamilton.

Diamondbacks 11, Cubs 2: Ryan Dempster lasted one-third on an inning. Gave up seven runs in that time.  Yikes.

Cards’ Pujols hits 700th career home run, 4th to reach mark

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run on Friday night, connecting for 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 No. 699 in the third inning, then launched No. 700 in the fourth at Dodger Stadium.

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

It’s been a remarkable run for Pujols. This was his 14th home run since the start of August for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, and his 21st of the season.

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

Pujols received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd – he finished out last season while playing for the Dodgers. He took a curtain call, raising his cap in acknowledgment.

The fans chanted “Pujols! Pujols!” They finally sat down after being on their feet in anticipation of seeing history.

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

Reaching 700 homers seemed like a long shot for Pujols when he was batting .189 on July 4. But the three-time NL MVP started to find his stroke in August, swatting seven homers in one 10-game stretch that helped St. Louis pull away in the division race.

“I know that early in the year … I obviously wanted better results,” Pujols said after he homered in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 22. “But I felt like I was hitting the ball hard. Sometimes this game is going to take more away from you than the game (is) giving you back.

“So I think at the end of the day you have to be positive and just stay focused and trust your work. That’s something that I’ve done all the time.”

Pujols has enjoyed a resurgent season after returning to St. Louis in March for a $2.5 million, one-year contract. It’s his highest total since he hit 23 homers for the Angels in 2019.

He plans to retire when the season ends.

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

The Dominican Republic native hit at least .300 with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first 10 seasons. He helped the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

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

Pujols left St. Louis in free agency in December 2011, signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels. He was waived by the Angels in May 2021, and then joined the Dodgers and hit 12 homers and drove in 38 runs in 85 games.