Nationals activate Anthony Rendon from the disabled list

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The first-place Nationals have limped out of the All-Star break, but they are about to get a boost to their lineup, as infielder Anthony Rendon has been activated from the 15-day disabled list after missing the past month with a strained left quad.

Rendon began a minor league rehab assignment a week ago with High-A Potomac and went 8-for-17 (.471) with two doubles over six games. He’s playing second base and batting second in his return tonight against the Pirates. Meanwhile, Yunel Escobar is back at third base after missing two games with a sore left wrist.

Rendon began the season on the disabled list with a sprained MCL in his left knee before suffering an oblique strain, so he has only appeared in 18 games this season. Finally having him healthy down the stretch would be huge for the Nationals, who also have Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, and Denard Span making their way back from injuries.

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).