Albert Pujols hits 2 homers in Angels' 6-1 win over Royals
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Albert Pujols claims to pay little attention to his climb up baseball's career homers list, often greeting his milestones with a dismissive shrug.
''I leave that to (reporters), so you guys can have something to do,'' he said Monday night.
Even Pujols had to acknowledge his latest leap up the standings was impressive, particularly because it led to a win for the Los Angeles Angels.
Pujols hit two homers and Mike Trout added another, powering the Angels to a 6-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
With two solo shots off Ian Kennedy (2-2), Pujols racked up the 564th and 565th homers of his career. He moved out of a tie with Reggie Jackson and into sole possession of 13th place on baseball's career list.
''To be able to even put my name with those legends in baseball before me is pretty special,'' Pujols said. ''I could have never thought in my entire life that I could do that. ... I've done some crazy things in this game and passed some unbelievable names, but I try not to really stay focused on that. My focus is to help this organization to win a championship, and I think that's why (Angels owner) Arte (Moreno) brought me here. He didn't bring me here to try to pass all those guys.''
Pujols has shaken his dismal start to the season with three homers in two games. The $240 million slugger moved past Jackson with a drive to the fake rock pile beyond center field in the third, and his fifth-inning shot barely eluded a leaping Alex Gordon in left field.
''For us that have been in the game a long time, it means more, because you know the guys he's passing,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''It's fun to watch. Albert is special for a lot of reasons.''
Trout added a solo shot in the seventh, his fourth homer of the season.
Garrett Richards (1-3) pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning of his first win of the season, leaving the Royals frustrated after repeatedly escaping self-created trouble, including five walks.
''(Richards) has got great stuff, but he was just wild enough to be really effective,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ''We just couldn't do much with him.''
The Angels have the AL's worst offense in several categories, but they followed up a three-run first inning with the long ball. Los Angeles scored more than five runs for the second time in 20 games this season.
''I know that this offense, we're just two or three hits away from clicking,'' Pujols said. ''It's good to take the first game of the series against those guys. They've got our number over the last couple of years.''
Salvador Perez drove in Kansas City's only run. Eric Hosmer extended his hitting streak to 15 games for the defending World Series champions, who opened a six-game West Coast trip with just their second loss in their last 12 meetings with the Angels, including the 2014 AL division series.
Kennedy is an Orange County native and former USC star who has never beaten the Angels. He yielded seven hits and four walks, allowing a baserunner in all six innings.
''Even though (Pujols) has been struggling this year, you can't take him lightly,'' Kennedy said. ''If you fall behind like that against really good hitters like that, whether they're struggling or not, they're going to make you pay.''
Pujols had his 52nd career multihomer game and his 10th with the Angels. He has five homers this season, but his shot on Sunday ended an 0-for-26 skid for the three-time NL MVP. He is closing in on Rafael Palmeiro, who sits in 12th place in baseball history with 569 career homers.
Richards got off to a rough start to his first season as the Angels' opening day starter, losing his head-to-head matchups with stars Jake Arrieta, Cole Hamels and Chris Sale. The Angels' five runs in the first five innings against Kansas City equaled Richards' total run support in his first four starts combined.
''I feel like everybody else is pitching well, and I've got to keep it going,'' Richards said.
Royals: Edinson Volquez (3-0, 1.46 ERA) has been one of the majors' top starters so far, throwing seven scoreless innings last week against Detroit.
Angels: Jered Weaver (2-0, 3.12) looks to continue his solid start to the season while improving his 7-6 career record against Kansas City.