It took 28 games. It took 111 at-bats. It took the longest drought of his career, but Albert Pujols has his first home run of the 2012 season. After a double by Mike Trout, Pujols smacked a 2-2 pitch over the right field fence. The home run came in a win for the struggling Angels and put an end to what was one of the strangest droughts in Major League history.
Pujols has never shown any type of struggles with hitting home runs. He has 442 in his career now, he hit three in the postseason last year, and he had seven during spring training. Yet, once the 2012 season began with Angels stitched across his chest instead of Cardinals, Pujols could not find his swing. He finally did so yesterday, and fans of the Angels along with fans of Pujols can only hope it breaks him out of his slump all together.
Pujols is now hitting .196/.237/.295 with one home run and seven RBI. He has struck out 16 times while walking just six times. Known as one of the most feared hitters in the league, Pujols has been walked intentionally just twice. This comes after being walked intentionally just 15 times last season – the lowest total since 2004.
Behind Pujols’ power, the Angels beat the Blue Jay 4-3 and improved to 12-17 on the season. The Blue Jays dropped to 16-13 but are still sitting in third place in the American League East.
Texas – 2
Cleveland – 4
Yu Darvish was handed his first Major League loss as Cleveland scored three runs in the third inning. Darvish struck out 11 in the loss, but the Indians dropped the Rangers to 18-10.
Chicago (A) – 1
Detroit – 3
The Tigers had three solo home runs to power Detroit past the White Sox, and Rick Porcello tossed 6 1/3 strong innings. Fielder’s home run helped him improve his batting average to .300 on the year.
Baltimore – 9
Boston – 6
It took almost two full games to get a winner, but the Orioles came out on top and improved their AL East leading record to 19-9. Chris Davis, the Orioles first baseman, pitched two scoreless innings and picked up the win. Adam Jones hit a three run home run in the top of the 17th to give Davis and the Orioles the win.
Oakland – 9
Tampa Bay – 5
Brandon Inge, released by the Tigers last week, drove in four runs and hit his first home run as an Athletic. Matt Moore of the Rays was roughed up and went just 4 2/3 innings. He gave up seven hits and eight runs.
New York (A) – 10
Kansas City – 4
With the score tied 1-1 in the third, Robinson Cano blasted a grand slam to help the Yankees to a 6-run third inning. Nick Swisher followed with a solo shot, and the Yankees tacked on three more in the eighth to ensure the victory.
Minnesota – 2
Seattle – 5
The Twins lost their 20th game of the year. They own the worst record in baseball. Mike Carp and Jesus Montero, the two young studs for the Mariners showed off their talent in the win. Both hit home runs and helped power the Mariners to their 13th win.
Philadelphia – 9
Washington – 3
In the first ESPN game televised from Nationals Park since the stadium opened, the Nationals fell to the Phillies. Philadelphia flexed some offensive muscle despite their struggles at the plate all year long. Cole Hamels picked up the win after going eight strong and allowing just one run.
Arizona – 1
New York (N) – 3
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey got the best of the Diamondbacks. Dickey went eight innings gave up four hits, and allowed just one run. He is now 4-1 on the season, and the Mets are 15-13.
Cincinnati – 5
Pittsburgh – 0
Through just six innings of work, Mat Latos struck out 11. That was all he needed and all the Reds needed. The Cincinnati tossed an additional 3 scoreless to preserve the win and the shut-out. Todd Frazier and Drew Stubbs hit home runs to help Cincinnati past the Bucs.
St. Louis – 8
Houston – 1
Adam Wainwright finally looked like the pitcher war all expected him to be this season. He tossed seven innings, allowed seven hits, but gave up just one run. He lowered his ERA to 5.61 on the year as the Cardinals ended their mini-skid.
Los Angeles (N) – 3
Chicago (N) – 4
Not only did the Dodgers and the Cubs have to wait out a 2 hour and 41-minute rain delay, they played 11 innings. Tony Campana hit a game tying double in the bottom of the ninth to force extras for the Cubs. Then, in the bottom of the 11th, the Cubs drew a walk-off walk to end the game.
Atlanta – 7
Colorado – 2
Brandon Beachy continued his surprising start to the season yesterday. He pitched 6 1/3 innings, struck out five, and gave up just four hits. The two runs allowed were not nearly enough for the Rockies to overcome the Braves’ sweep.
Miami – 6
San Diego – 3
Despite Heath Bell‘s struggles, the Marlins took 3 of 4 from the Padres behind a solid pitching performance from Ricky Nolasco. He allowed just two runs in seven innings and struck out three. Joe Wieland of the Padres was once again robbed of the chance for victory. He pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed just two runs.
Milwaukee – 3
San Francisco – 4
Milwaukee tied the game in the top of the ninth, but they couldn’t push across the go-ahead run. In the bottom of the 11th, the Brewers brought Ryan Braun into the infield to add a fifth infielder. The ploy did not work as Hector Sanchez hit a game-winning single for the Giants.