Pujols gives people what they want: a storybook | by Cary Osborne
by Cary Osborne
Albert Pujols has said it will be a few days before the moment resonates with him. He’ll see a highlight of what he did on Tuesday night in St. Louis, where he started his legendary career and excelled for 11 seasons, then feel the same as others at Busch Stadium and on TV when the 41-year-old hit a home run in the first inning.
Just like on June 22, 2019, when he hit a home run in his second return game in Saint-Louis as an angel.
He did better on this return.
In his first game in St. Louis since then, Pujols swung and hooked on a JA Happ lead, his upper hand leaving the bat at the point of contact, and muscled the ball over the wall into left field for a solo home run. .
“It was pretty special,” Pujols said. “Every time you come here to St. Louis with the story that I have playing here and the fans, it was really a great time, and again being able to deliver like that in the first to the next. stick was huge, especially when we have our bullpen. We want to make sure we get a few runs early so they can have a cushion.
Pujols, who moments before the home run received a standing ovation from the Busch Stadium crowd, hit one of the Dodgers’ four home runs on the night, giving the Dodgers a big cushion in a game of the enclosure. The Dodgers, who also got a pair of home runs from Justin Turner, won 7-2.
“Storybook” is how manager Dave Roberts described the Pujols circuit. “It’s one of those things that you hope will happen, but the likelihood is very unlikely. So to play like that, get a standing ovation, then hit the circuit that first batting storybook. And I firmly believe that the game honors you. And the way Albert played the game the right way for so long, that’s how it had to be.
Pujols, who won three MVP titles and two World Series titles with the Cardinals in an incredible run from 2001 to 2011, did not take part in Monday’s opener in St. Louis but heard the chant from the crowd: “We want Albert!” He rewarded their loyalty with the homer – his 12th as a Dodger and the 679th of his career.
“It was pretty surreal for him to come back, get the standing ovation and give people what they wanted. They wanted to see Albert hit a homer, and he wasted no time,” said Turner.
Turner hit a pair. He landed his first home run since Aug. 15 with a solo shot in the fifth inning against Happ that put the Dodgers up 4-2. In the ninth, he hit a two-run homerun against reliever Kwang Hyun Kim.
In the sixth, Will Smith sent a fastball at 95 mph to the top of reliever Alex Reyes’ zone over the wall into left field to give the Dodgers a 5-2 lead. It was Smith’s 12th home run on a fast pitch at the top of the zone this year – tied for second on the Majors with Marcus Semien’s 13.
Smith went 4-for-4 in the game with three singles in the field. His fourth inning single was sandwiched between a Corey Seager single and a Steven Souza Jr. RBI double. Souza’s hit tied the score at 2-2, then Cody Bellinger started a run with an RBI. down to give the Dodgers a 3–2 lead.
After an August in which the Dodgers have a 2.25 ERA, they have a 2.14 ERA through six games in September. Two of those games, including Tuesday night, were reliever games. The Dodger pitchers have allowed three earned runs in 19 2/3 innings in those games.
The Dodgers used nine pitchers in a row that started with Corey Knebel in the first inning and ended with Neftali Feliz in the ninth.
The Cardinals scored the Dodger’s first two pitchers with a sacrifice fly from Nolan Arenado over Knebel in the first and an RBI single by Arenado over Evan Phillips in the third. The latter gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead at the time.
The Cardinals went 3-for-22 and put a runner in scoring position against the Dodgers’ last seven pitchers.
“Our pen did an amazing job, and Doc did an amazing job and (pitching coach) Mark (Prior) shuffled and matched and knows which guys to bring,” said Pujols. “It’s not easy, and these guys take the ball and do an amazing job and throw like there’s no tomorrow. In order for us to complete another championship as this city and this organization wants, we will need the help of our relievers, and they are doing an incredible job.
The start of Kershaw’s rehabilitation
Clayton Kershaw struck out the first hitter he faced in the first, second and third innings for the Oklahoma City triple A on Tuesday. After allowing a single with one out in the second inning, he ceded a two-run homer to Albuquerque wide receiver Brian Serven. Kershaw played three innings, allowing four hits and earned two runs, three strikeouts and no walks. He threw 49 pitches, 34 for strikes.
“I think with the schedule of the schedule and things like that, I think by the time October rolls around I should have up to 100 or so throws, which is the goal,” Kershaw said. “But it’s going to take work. I have to keep going and keep building. The accumulation process is certainly not over yet.
Roberts said Kershaw would return to the Dodgers and then host a bullpen session.
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