Albert Pujols has just joined one of the most exclusive clubs in all of Major League Baseball: the 2,000 RBI club. He reached number 2,000 this afternoon with a solo homer — the 639th dinger of his career — in the third inning in the Angels’ game against the Tigers in Detroit.
When he crossed the plate after that homer he became only the fifth player to top 2,000 career RBI. The whole club:
Hank Aaron: 2,297
Babe Ruth: 2,214
Alex Rodriguez: 2,086
Cap Anson: 2,075
Albert Pujols: 2,000
That’s the list according to Baseball-Reference.com, anyway. The Elias Sports Bureau only counts RBI since 1920, so it leaves out Anson and cuts down Ruth’s total by over 200. Major League Baseball leaves out most of Anson but counts some and has a different total for Ruth than Baseball-Reference.com does for reasons which are only clear to them, likely dealing with how the pre-1920 data was mined. Personally, I consider Baseball-Reference.com infallible until told otherwise, so let’s call Pujols fifth.
Anyway, I know RBI is not as important a stat as it has historically been made out to be, but it’s still a rare accomplishment to collect this many of them. Besides, Pujols has long since ensured himself a place in the Hall of Fame, so this is just some sugar on top. Let’s enjoy the sugar:
The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.
In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.
Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).
Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.
With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.