Friday’s Game Report: Cardinals 11, Dodgers 0
By Rob Rains
On this night, the magic number was 700.
Albert Pujols became a member of one of the most exclusive clubs in baseball history on Friday night as he launched the 699th and 700th home runs of his career to lead the Cardinals over the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
He became only the fourth player to reach that milestone – 18 years after Barry Bonds was admitted, 49 years after Hank Aaron did it and 88 years after Babe Ruth became the charter member of the 700 club.
Pujols likely will be the last to enter that club for a long time – only eight active players have 300 or more career homers, and only two of those players, Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout, are less than 34 years old.
After striking out in his first at-bat, Pujols connected for his 20th homer of the year in the third, a two-run shot off Andrew Heaney. He didn’t have to sit on that number for long – one inning – as he made history in his next at-bat, in the fourth, off Phil Bickford.
That home run was a three-run shot, giving Pujols five RBIs in the game and leaving him just six shy of Ruth for second place on the all-time list behind Aaron.
The home runs allowed Pujols to join a couple of other exclusive clubs as well.
He became only the second player whose career lasted more than 10 years to hit 20 or more home runs in his first season and 20 or more in his final year. Ted Williams was the only other player to do it.
Pujols also reached the 20-homer mark for the 18th time in his career. The only players who had more 20-homer seasons were Aaron and Bonds.
It was the fourth two-homer game of the season for Pujols, who has hit 15 of his homers since the All-Star break.
Not to be lost in the attention to Pujols’ big night was that the win dropped the Cardinals’ magic number to clinch the NL Central to four.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Pujols had company as the Cardinals hit three other home runs – making this the first time in their history they had hit five home runs in a game at Dodger Stadium. Lars Nootbaar homered in the fifth, Juan Yepez in the seventh and Alec Burleson hit the first of his career in the eighth … Nootbaar also drove in another run with a single as he finished with three hits … Dylan Carlson had a pair of doubles, drove in a run and scored twice.
On the mound: Jose Quintana pitched the first 6 2/3 innings of the shutout, allowing five hits. He has not allowed a run in his last two starts, covering 14 2/3 innings. In four September starts, Quintana has allowed only two runs over 25 1/3 innings. He struck out six and did not walk a batter … After Zack Thompson pitched 1 1/3 innings, the Cardinals had outfielder Corey Dickerson pitch the ninth. He allowed two hits but was able to complete the shutout.
Key stat: The 11-0 win was the second biggest shutout win for the Cardinals in their history at Dodger Stadium. They won 12-0 on May 4, 1989.
Worth noting: The Cardinals had hit four home runs in a game at Dodger Stadium three times previously, the most recent on April 15, 2011. Pujols hit one of those homers … Nootbaar was playing in Dodger Stadium for the first time as a Cardinal, but he previously homered there in 2018 when he was at USC and they played UCLA in a game in the stadium … It also was a historic night for Cardinals’ minor-leaguer Moises Gomez, playing for Memphis, who hit his 38th home run of the season. That’s the most by a Cardinals’ minor-leaguer since records began being kept in 1960. He has the most homers in the minor leagues this season.
Looking ahead: Jordan Montgomery will get the start on Saturday night as the Cardinals face Clayton Kershaw in the second game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
POST GAME AUDIO
Did you miss John Rooney with the call on KMOX Radio? The Cardinals and KMOX posted it on social media last night if you want to hear a longer version, but here is the immediate call:
To hear Albert Pujols’ post-game interview, click the audio player below. (Audio provided by Mike Reeves, MLB Network)
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