The designated hitter hit two home runs Sunday, leading the Los
Angeles Angels to a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in front of
36,655 at Angel Stadium.
Pujols blasted solo shots in the first and seventh innings against
left-hander David Price (4-4). The second homer was Pujols' 12th of
the season and the 504th of his career, tying him with Hall of Famer
Eddie Murray for 25th place all-time.
However, Pujols, a three-time National League Most Valuable Player,
said he remains focused on winning games.
"That's my goal," said Pujols, whose team won three of four in the
weekend series. "I've got plenty of time when I retire to look
From May 7 through Friday, Pujols went 4-for-38 (.105) without an
RBI. He drove in a run Saturday night, then went 3-for-4 Sunday.
Angels left fielder Grant Green also went 3-for-4.
"Timing can go away for a couple of games, maybe a series," Pujols
said. "Sometimes it's not about timing. Sometimes you need more of a
"Today, I came here and I didn't pick up a bat until 12:15 to get
ready for the game," which started at 12:35 p.m.
While Pujols and Green paced the offense, the Angels got a strong
outing from Matt Shoemaker (2-1). The rookie right-hander permitted
just one run, two hits and three walks in six-plus innings.
Shoemaker induced eight groundouts and struck out six.
"He really showed good fastball command today," Angels manager Mike
Scioscia said. "He used his off-speed pitches well to set everything
Shoemaker took advantage of the Rays' recent struggles.
"On offense, we really haven't kicked it a whole lot on this road
trip," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "We're just in a little
bit of a funk right now."
Tampa Bay's only runs came when center fielder Kevin Kiermaier,
playing his third game, hit his first major league homer, a two-run
drive in the seventh inning. The home run cut Los Angeles' lead to
The Angels used Pujols' first home run to take a 1-0 lead in the
bottom of the first after defusing a Tampa Bay threat in the top of
Rays right fielder Wil Myers walked with one out and moved to third
base on left fielder Matt Joyce's single. However, third baseman
Evan Longoria and first baseman James Loney flied out.
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Pujols then pounded an 0-2 fastball over the center field fence for
his first homer since May 4.
Three consecutive singles in the second inning gave Los Angeles a
2-0 lead, with second baseman Howie Kendrick's ground ball up the
middle bringing home center fielder Mike Trout.
The Angels then combined three hits, a sacrifice and an error into
three runs in the fourth to build a 5-0 advantage.
Green's single scored shortstop Erick Aybar. After third baseman
Luis Jimenez sacrificed, right fielder Collin Cowgill hit a ground
ball through Longoria's legs to send catcher Chris Iannetta and
Green across the plate. Cowgill received one RBI, and Longoria was
charged with an error.
After Kiermaier put Tampa Bay on the board, Pujols followed in the
bottom of the seventh with a solo drive into the stands down the
left field line.
Price, who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2012, allowed
six runs (five earned) and 11 hits while striking out seven in 6 2/3
innings. He didn't issue a walk.
Kiermaier made a leaping, one-handed catch against the wall to take
a home run away from Aybar in the second.
NOTES: Tampa Bay 2B Cole Figueroa made his first major league start
and went 0-for-3. The Rays recalled Figueroa on Wednesday to replace
2B Ben Zobrist (dislocated left thumb). ... Rays LHP David Price
leads the American League lead in innings pitched (69 1/3). He and
Texas LHP Martin Perez are tied for the lead in complete games, each
with two. ... Tampa Bay C Ryan Hanigan did not play for the second
consecutive game. Hanigan left Friday night's game due to a right
hamstring injury. ... Los Angeles SS Erick Aybar, who went 1-for-4,
is batting .323 (32-for-99) over his past 24 games. He was batting
.175 before the hot streak.
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