Albert Pujols turned on a fastball over the middle of the plate, sent a shot deep into the left-field seats, flipped his bat toward celebrating teammates in the dugout and trotted around the bases.
By the time he stepped on home plate, the three-time MVP was in an elite group of three players in history.
Pujols became the third player with 2,000 career RBIs when he hit a solo homer in the third inning Thursday to help the Angels rout the Tigers 13-0 in Detroit.
“To win games, you have to drive runs in,” Pujols said. “I know right now there are a lot of geniuses that don’t want to give credit to RBIs.”
Pujols joined Hank Aaron (2,297) and Alex Rodriguez (2,086) as the players to reach the milestone since 1920. Babe Ruth is credited with 1,992 RBIs because baseball’s official records don’t count the runs he drove in with the Red Sox from 1914 through ’19.
Pujols received an ovation by the sparse crowd at Comerica Park, where his accomplishment was recognized on the video board and by the public-address announcer.
“You feel honored just to be on the field with him,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s one of the elite hitters in baseball history, but he’s also a class act as a person.”
Photo: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images
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Cardinals 17, Pirates 4: Marcell Ozuna drove in four runs and Dexter Fowler had three RBIs for host St. Louis. Paul Goldschmidt reached base four times and had three hits and two RBIs for the Cardinals, who managed just one run in their previous 21 innings but bounced back with 16 hits and recorded a season high in runs.
Astros 4, Rangers 2: Right fielder Josh Reddick hit the tie-breaking RBI single in the sixth and preserved the lead with a leaping grab over the wall in the ninth for host Houston.
Yankees 3, Mariners 1: J.A. Happ and four relievers combined on a two-hitter for host New York. Seattle second baseman Dee Gordon exited after being hit on the wrist by Happ’s pitch.
Cubs 4, Marlins 1: Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo homered as host Chicago beat Miami for its 10th win in 11 games.
Indians 5, White Sox 0: Jordan Luplow hit two home runs for host Cleveland in a game shortened to five innings because of rain.
Briefly: The Nationals signed outfielder Gerardo Parra, who was designated for assignment by the Giants last Friday and became a free agent Tuesday after batting .198 in 30 games. … The Mets placed left-hander Steven Matz on the injured list because of radial nerve discomfort in his pitching arm. … Texas reliever Shawn Kelley went on the IL because of a bacterial infection. … Pittsburgh reliever Keone Kela was placed on the IL because of inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
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