Watch: Albert Pujols makes history with 500th career home run
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Albert Pujols is now a member of one of baseball's most exclusive clubs. With a pair of home runs against Washington in Los Angeles' 7-2 win, Pujols became just the 26th player in baseball history to reach 500 career homers. Pujols is the first player to hit his 499th and 500th career homers in the same game, the first player since Gary Sheffield in 2009 to hit 500 career homers, and joins Alex Rodriguez as the only active players in baseball to be a part of that group. Homer no. 500 was Pujols' second of the game and eighth of the season, a towering drive to centerfield in the fifth inning off of Taylor Jordan that drove in two and make it 6-2 Los Angeles. The Angels' first baseman took an 89 mph offering on a 1-2 count and belted it, was met by his team at home plate for a celebration, and took a curtain call from the fans at Nationals Park. His first homer of the night, which gave the Angels an early 3-0 lead against the Nationals, followed a J.B. Shuck double and a throwing error by Anthony Rendon that allowed Mike Trout to reach first base. Pujols took a 1-1 changeup from Jordan and deposited it into the leftfield stands. You can watch that below:
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Despite starting the season on a 30-at-bat homerless streak, Pujols now holds the major league lead in round-trippers over former teammate Mark Trumbo, as he's notched eight in his last 13 games. Going into Tuesday night's action, Pujols was hitting a scorching .300/.386/.680 in 57 plate appearances since hitting his first homer on Apr. 8. He's homered four times in his last five games and has gone hitless in just three of his 20 games this year. His five-RBI night against the Nationals, a season-high, pushed his 2014 total to 19, the best mark on the team and second in the AL to Minnesota's Chris Colabello, who has 22; Miami's Giancarlo Stanton leads MLB with 26 RBI.
Pujols' two-homer game is the 43rd of his career, 18th most in baseball and second-most of any active player, behind A-Rod. The homer was the 23rd of Pujols' career against the Washington/Montreal franchise, his fifth-highest total against any team in baseball; he's homered against 29 of the 30 MLB clubs, missing only St. Louis. Nationals Park was also the place where Pujols joined the 400-homer club, which he reached on Aug. 26, 2010. Jordan, meanwhile, becomes the 318th pitcher Pujols has homered off of in his career; Ryan Dempster leads that list, having surrendered eight of Pujols' career blasts. Pujols is the second player to reach the 500-homer milestone as a member of the Angels, joining Reggie Jackson, who hit his 500th on Sept. 17, 1984. He is the 14th right-handed hitter to join the club and the third Dominican-born player, along with Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez. At 34 years and 96 days, Pujols is also the third-youngest player in MLB history to reach 500 homers, behind A-Rod (32 years, eight days) and Jimmie Foxx (32 years, 337 days). Pujols is still well shy of A-Rod's league-best 654 career homers among active players, but is now 56 dingers ahead of the next active player on the career homer list, Adam Dunn. Jason Giambi (438) and David Ortiz (435) round out the top-five.