Angels first baseman Albert Pujols took sole possession of 18th place on the all-time home run leaderboard with a first-inning solo shot off of Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura in the first inning on Sunday afternoon. It’s the 522nd home run of the slugger’s career, breaking a four-way tie with Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas, and Ted Williams.
Pujols could conceivably pass Mike Schmidt, with 548 career home runs, in 15th place by the end of the season. He would need to hit 27 more home runs to do so. Pujols’ next targets, however, are Jimmie Foxx (534) and Mickey Mantle (536).
Pujols’ 521st home run came on Wednesday, a first-inning, two-run home run off of Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma.
Pujols entered Sunday afternoon’s game batting just .105 (2-for-19). After playing in only 99 games in 2013, Pujols had a fully healthy season last year and posted solid offensive numbers, finishing with a .790 OPS, 28 home runs, and 105 RBI in 695 plate appearances.
The Padres turned out in remarkable fashion on Saturday, following up on Friday’s 6-3 win with a decisive 19-run effort to take the series from the Blue Jays. Rookie right-hander Cal Quantrill spun six strong innings, holding Toronto to three runs and striking out nine of 22 batters, but it was the Padres’ offense that really sealed the deal.
Of the 19 runs they put up, seven landed for home runs — establishing a franchise-best record for most home runs amassed during a single game.
Wil Myers and Ian Kinsler went back-to-back for the first two homers, each coming off of an Edwin Jackson pitch in the second inning. Myers’ 351-foot blast was his eighth of the season, while Kinsler’s 382-footer marked his sixth so far this spring. Two innings later, in the fourth, Jackson once again set the table for Austin Hedges, who promptly went yard with the first grand slam of his five-year career in the majors and boosted the Padres to a six-run advantage.
The home runs came for the Blue Jays, too — Lourdes Gurriel Jr. plucked one from a bouquet of sliders in the second, while Justin Smoak collected his ninth homer on a first-pitch fastball in the fourth — but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep pace with the Padres. In the sixth, Hunter Renfroe took his turn against Derek Law and punched a two-run shot out to center field. He returned in the eighth for a second helping, sandwiching another 376-foot home run in between a solo homer from Eric Hosmer and a two-RBI knock from Myers, too.
By the time the dust settled, the Padres had gathered 19 runs on 20 hits. They finished the game just one run shy of tying their single-game record for runs scored, a feat no Padres’ lineup has replicated since their 20-7 rout of the Expos on May 19, 2001.