Albert Pujols one hit away from No. 3,000
Albert Pujols held Angel Stadium in rapt attention for three straight at bats Thursday but will likely get his 3,000th career hit on the road.
The Los Angeles Angels slugger hit a two-run double in the second inning of a 12-3 drubbing of the Baltimore Orioles for hit No. 2,999.
He was hit by a pitch in the fourth, fouled out to first in the sixth and then flied out to right in the eighth before being lifted from the game the following inning.
In 30 games so far this season, Pujols is hitting.248 with 31 hits, six home runs and 17 RBIs.
Pujols’ next chance to become the 32nd major-leaguer to reach 3,000 hits will come Friday night on the road against the Seattle Mariners during the first game of a three-game series.
The Angels will then play a two-game road series against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning home to face the Minnesota Twins in a four-game series beginning Thursday.
The 38-year-old three-time National League MVP, 10-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion already has membership among an exclusive club of nine MLB players by hitting 617 career home runs over his 18 seasons so far.
When he gets his next hit he’ll also be one of only six players to reach the career milestones of 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro and Alex Rodriguez.
Going even further, Pujols will be only the fourth member of the 3,000-600 club, joining Aaron, Mays and Rodriguez as players with 3,000 hits to also reach 600 homers.
The most recent player to join the 3,000 hit club was Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, who reached the milestone hit on July 30, 2017.
Ichiro Suzuki, besides Beltre the only other active MLB player with 3,000 hits, won’t play the rest of the 2018 season after joining the Seattle Mariners’ front office on Thursday. Suzuki, who is leaving the door open to playing in 2019, has 3,089 major-league hits to go along with 1,278 from the start of his career in his native Japan.
The next closest active player to 3,000 career hits after Pujols is Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, who collected hit No. 2,666 on Thursday afternoon by going 1-for-4 in his return from a three-game absence dealing with biceps spasms.
Cabrera had to leave the Tigers’ 10-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals after straining his hamstring in the sixth inning and could be headed for the disabled list.