2015 Previews: The National League West in a nutshell

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2015 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West:

The Giants are the defending champs, but did they get worse in the offseason? The Dodgers did some tinkering, but they still have the best pitcher in the game and more money than God. The Padres had the busiest offseason of any team, but did all that sound and fury signify anything? The Diamondbacks have a new manager and a new GM, but will that translate to immediate results? The Rockies: entering year 23 of trying to figure out how to pitch at altitude.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).