Pujols, who had been jeered by some home fans in Anaheim, California during his homerless run, hit a two-run homer off Toronto rookie pitcher Drew Hutchison during the fifth inning of yesterday’s 4-3 win over the Blue Jays.
When Pujols crossed home plate, he returned to an empty Angels’ dugout, as teammate Torii Hunter had urged the players to run into the clubhouse tunnel as a joke while Pujols circled the bases. They came out to congratulate him moments later.
“It’s a relief for him, and I’m pretty sure it’s a relief for us,” Hunter told reporters after the game. “I’m happy that he got this lifted off of him. Now he can go out there and just swing and have fun.”
Entering the game, Pujols had a .194 batting average and Atlanta outfielder Michael Bourn and Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins were the only MLB players to have more at-bats this season without a home run.
Pujols, a three-time National League Most Valuable Player who signed a 10-year deal with the Angels in December, said afterwards it was “awesome” to break his homerless streak. His longest prior drought was 105 at-bats over 27 games last year.
“This game is about making adjustments and being patient,” Pujols said. “Sometimes you want to do too much, and it’s part of it. If you don’t, my dad always told me, you’re not human. And I’m human.”
The New York Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 as knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey took a shutout into the ninth inning, and the Baltimore Orioles topped the Boston Red Sox 9-6 on Adam Jones’s three-run homer in the top of the 17th inning. The Orioles have baseball’s best record at 19-9.
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