MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Albert Pujols met Hall of Famer Stan Musial during his time with the St. Louis Cardinals and grew to appreciate Musial and his legacy.
For now, the pair is sharing a place in baseball’s record books.
Pujols hit his 623rd career homer and tied Musial for seventh on the career RBI list with 1,951, helping the Los Angeles Angels beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 after a four-hour rain delay Saturday.
Pujols’ solo home run in the sixth proved to be the difference as Tyler Skaggs (5-4) allowed one run in seven innings and matched a season best with eight strikeouts.
The team announced Pujols is sending the ball he hit, his jersey and bat from Saturday’s game to the family of Musial, who died in 2013.
“I know those two had a chance to spend a lot of time together when he was in St. Louis and he respects him, respects his legacy tremendously,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “For him to be in the same sentence with Stan Musial I know is a nice feeling for Albert.”
Ian Kinsler had a solo home run, his sixth in the past 11 games, for the Angels. Blake Parker recorded his seventh save as Los Angeles won for the seventh time in its past eight games.
Kyle Gibson (1-4) allowed both home runs before completing seven innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out five batters as Minnesota fell to 3-13 in one-run games.
Gibson threw a career-high 118 pitches. He’s posted six consecutive quality starts without a win.
“Offensively when you’re struggling, it’s just tough,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Especially not taking advantage of some of these really good starts that we’ve been getting.”
The four-hour rain delay is the second longest in Target Field history behind a 4:50 delay last June against the Chicago White Sox.
Pujols struck in the sixth with a towering homer to the second deck in left field.
“They were really spitting out some sliders and some good fastballs away and, unfortunately I just made the wrong pitch at the wrong time, and Albert did what Albert does,” Gibson said. “He did a really good job on that pitch.”
Pujols added a single in the eighth for his 3,027th career hit, which ranks 27th on the career list. He’s seventh on the home run list, seven behind Ken Griffey Jr., and his RBI total is 44 behind Lou Gehrig for sixth.
“The names that are thrown up next to his are names that all baseball fans know and some are names that just people know,” Kinsler said. “He’s passing, I guess you could call them, legends. It’s a lot of fun to watch.”
Minnesota’s lone run crossed the plate in the sixth after Max Kepler grounded into a double play, but Robbie Grossman got caught in a rundown before being tagged out, allowing Eddie Rosario to score.
ENERGY TO SPARE
Skaggs had his second straight strong start. He was coming off six scoreless innings in a win against Texas on June 3. The left-hander retired 11 of the first 13 batters he faced and ended up giving up five hits and one walk in tying his longest outing of the season.
“I had like four Red Bulls and a lot of energy drinks,” Skaggs said of how he spent the rain delay. “So, I was ready to go. I woke up early, got here on the first bus because I wanted to wake up for the game. I think it worked out really well.”
ANGELS ANNOUNCER CLEARED
Los Angeles radio play-by-play announcer Terry Smith was released from a local hospital after an irregular heartbeat forced him to leave Friday’s broadcast. Smith was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center where he underwent tests.
The team said Smith was cleared after the testing and he’ll return to the broadcast on Monday in Seattle.
The Twins recalled OF Jake Cave from Triple-A Rochester before the game and optioned RHP Tyler Duffey. Cave hit .111 in three games earlier this season, including his first major league hit on a home run.
Angels: C Martin Maldonado was out of the lineup a day after fouling a ball off his foot. But Scioscia said he planned to start rookie catcher Jose Briceno anyway because of the day game following a night game.
Twins: OF Byron Buxton (10-day disabled list) ran on an antigravity treadmill Friday as he tests his broken left great toe. Buxton was likely to advance to hitting off a tee Saturday.
Angels: RHP Nick Tropeano (3-3, 4.35 ERA) starts the series finale. Tropeano allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings in his last start against Kansas City.
Twins: RHP Fernando Romero (2-2, 3.96) will take the mound looking to follow-up his two-run, six-inning start last week against Chicago. The rookie has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his career seven starts.
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