In his third at-bat Sunday and 111th at-bat of the season, Albert Pujols finally broke his career-long homer drought, connecting on a two-run shot off Blue Jays rookie Drew Hutchinson that gave the Angels a 4-2 lead in the fifth.
The Halos went on to win 4-3.
Pujols’ average had been down to .191 before the blast. He finished 1-for-4, putting him at .196. It’s the first time this season that he’s had a multi-RBI game.
Now that Pujols is finally on the board, it’s time for him to start making up ground.
Pujols homered once every 14.2 at-bats during his Cardinals career. His season averages in his 11 years in St. Louis were 40 homers in 574 at-bats. To get to that point this year, he’d have to hit 39 homers in 463 at-bats, an average of one homer every 11.9 at-bats. That’s a rate he’s maintained just once over a full season in his career, when he hit 49 homers in 535 at-bats in 2006.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.