Giants set to get Norichika Aoki back from fractured fibula

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Left fielder Norichika Aoki is expected to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Giants’ starting lineup tonight against the Brewers after missing the past month with a fractured right fibula.

Aoki had hoped to return over the weekend, but the Giants decided to give him a little extra time to recover. He was having a fantastic first half before the injury, hitting .317 with a .383 on-base percentage after joining the Giants as a free agent on an inexpensive one-year deal.

His on-base skills and strike-zone control are key atop San Francisco’s lineup and Aoki’s return pushes Gregor Blanco back into a reserve role.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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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).