And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Miss me? No? Ah, well. Baseball stops for no one man. Back to the grind then:

Brewers 2, Pirates 1: The walkoff sac fly for Nyjer Morgan. Of course all guys who hit sac flies walk off the field, so whatever. Charlie Morton’s scoreless innings streak was snapped at 24. In other news, Charlie Morton had a sizable scoreless innings streak. The things you miss when you’re sitting and staring at a lake for a week.

Giants 5, Marlins 2: Two homers for Brandon Belt, so I assume he’ll be sent down to AAA now. Ryan Vogelsong ups his record to 10-2. He retired 17 straight Marlins at one point. He also got hit by a pitch and got real mad. Marlins’ manager Jack McKeon actually said this: “Guys get carried away. Vogel … Volkswagen … whatever his name is — he’s lucky he didn’t have to face Drysdale or Gibson or one of those guys. You would get a shave and a haircut real quick.”  And McKeon is basically the only guy who could get away with saying that kind of thing.

Cubs 6, Braves 5: Atlanta blows a four-run lead and Dan Uggla’s hitting streak ends at 33. Fun with line scores: Arodys Vizcaino struck out three in two-thirds of an inning. Wild pitches are the damndest things.

Dodgers 7, Astros 0: The Astros got swept. A shame too. Before the weekend began there was still a technical chance that they could finish above .500. So it goes.

Orioles 8, Tigers 5: Baltimore led 8-1 heading into the ninth and allowed the Tigers to rally for four. I’m guessing fans of most teams wouldn’t have gotten too worried, even if such events upset them. But there’s a certain brand of O’s fan — of whom I meet more and more these days — who probably figured their guys could woof this one away. Especially given that they blew a five-run lead on Saturday.

Mariners 5, Red Sox 3: The M’s take two of three from the Bosox as Charlie Furbush gave up one run over seven innings to the best offense around.

White Sox 6, Royals 2: A three-run homer for Brent Lillibridge pulls the Sox to .500 and to within four games of the Tigers.

Blue Jays 5, Angels 4: A walkoff single in the 10th for Edwin Encarnacion. And unlike Nyjer Morgan’s, this really was a walkoff. Because normally if you walk off the field right after hitting a single, they can tag you out or call you out for being out of the baseline or something. You can look it up.

Diamondbacks 5, Mets 3: A homer for Justin Upton. A couple of doubles for Paul Goldschmidt. A broken fibula for Jason Marquis. Two out of three ain’t bad. Six straight wins for the Dbacks.

Rangers 7, Athletics 6: The A’s have lost eight in a row to Texas. They really should stop scheduling those guys. Everyone complains when you beat up on some small school in August, but you rarely get penalized for it. Oh, sorry. I live in the college football belt, and sometimes this kind of talks just starts filtering in this time of year.

Padres 7, Reds 3: Dontrelle Willis had to leave early with forearm tightness. After the game he said “”This is the first time my arm felt like this. At this point in my career, it’s kind of shocking.”  More shocking: that Willis can talk about his career having any sense of normalcy or predictability to it whatsoever.

Cardinals 6, Rockies 2: With the Rockies down by only two, Octavio Dotel struck out Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. Pretty clutch, eh? Dotel? Who knew? Long, long homer for Albert Pujols who now, despite such a poor start, leads the NL in bombs.

Nationals vs. Phillies: POSTPONED: I don’t begrudge the fact that, in large part, the ATH comments have been turned into a Phillies fan forum this year. You guys are passionate and committed and your team is doing well so it’s totally understandable. I must say, though, I am curious to see how you guys use a rainout as the basis to dominate the comments as usual.

Rays vs. Yankees: POSTPONED: See, if Yankee Stadium had a dome like they have down in St. Petersburg, this game would have been played. Why can’t anyone learn from the Rays’ example?

Twins v. Indians: POSTPONED: All three games that were postponed involved sure-thing playoff teams or potential playoff teams. I’m getting excited though, because we’re very close to the time of year when they cancel games and don’t bother to reschedule them in the event they involve a couple of dead-enders.

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.