Pujols ties Williams, McCovey, Thomas for 18th on HR list
SEATTLE (AP) Albert Pujols didn't want to reflect on his latest career milestone.
He was just happy to contribute to an Angels win.
Pujols hit his 521st home run to move into 18th place on baseball's career list and the Los Angeles Angels held on for a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Pujols' home run, a two-run shot off Hisashi Iwakuma (0-1) in the first inning, tied him with Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas on the all-time list.
''At the end of my career I'm going to have plenty of time to look back and see what I've done in this game,'' said Pujols, who is in the third year of his 10-year contract with the Angels that will take him to 2021.
Pujols said ''it's special to share my name and be a part of those guys. If you would tell me 16 years ago when I got to this game that I would accomplish what I have, the World Series, big hits, I can't even imagine.
''But it's not about me. It's about the Angels organization and helping my teammates to win games.''
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said ''that's a nice neighborhood to be in. ... Mike (Trout) has done so much a lot of people overlook how good Albert has been. He's still one of the top hitters in baseball.''
Pujols has been bothered by knee and foot injuries the past two seasons, limiting his numbers and effectiveness. He said it made a difference ''when I don't have to worry when I come to spring training and you are aching with a sore foot or knee. That's not a good feeling, especially when you have 162 games to get yourself ready for.''
Matt Shoemaker (1-0) picked up the win despite allowing a home run to Brad Miller in the third and a two-run shot by Kyle Seager in the sixth. He struck out three and walked none in his six innings.
Iwakuma (0-1) worked six innings, allowing nine hits, five runs, striking out three and walking none.
The Mariners threatened to score on Joe Smith in the eighth, putting runners on second and third with no outs. After Smith struck out Nelson Cruz, Scioscia trotted out to talk to Smith. He said if he couldn't get Seager to swing early, walk him, going against the `book' by putting the go-ahead run on base.
''I don't mind,'' Smith said. ''It just sets up a double play anywhere.''
Smith struck out Rickie Weeks and got Logan Morrison to fly out to center.
Huston Street worked the ninth to pick up his second save.
Mariners: OF Seth Smith missed his second straight game with a tight groin. It's not serious enough for extended time off. He could have pinch hit Wednesday, if needed.
Angels: Angels have two players on the DL eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday but will not. RHP Garrett Richards (left knee) missed one start but could be ready next week. He will pitch in an extended spring outing Thursday.
Angels OF Josh Hamilton is working out in Houston. The Angels will be traveling to Houston next Thursday. Manager Mike Scioscia said nothing is planned yet, but he would like to see him. ''The important thing for Josh is he's getting the help he needs, getting the support he needs,'' he said. ''That's where our concerns are. We'll touch base with him.''
Mariners: Seattle has Thursday off, traveling to Oakland. Young RHP Taijuan Walker will open the series Friday against the A's. He allowed just two runs in 27 spring innings. He'll be opposed by A's LHP Drew Pomeranz.
Angels: A day off Thursday will be followed by three straight at home against the AL champion Kansas City Royals. LHP Hector Santiago gets his first start and will be opposed by Royals LHP Jason Vargas (0-1, 6.00 ERA).