Pujols curtain call HR for Angels vs hometown Cards in loss
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Albert Pujols delivered for his many fans in St. Louis. The Cardinals were crowd pleasers, too.
Pujols took a curtain call for his adoring fans at Busch Stadium after homering against the Cardinals, but Marcell Ozuna connected to lead Dakota Hudson and St. Louis over the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Saturday.
Pujols was all smiles as he circled the bases after his 13th home run, a solo drive in the seventh inning. He got a standing ovation during his trot, and the cheers grew louder until Pujols emerged from the dugout and tipped his hat to the sellout crowd.
“Trying to walk around the bases, getting to the plate and trying to get into the dugout and hold everything in — that was hard,” Pujols said. “It was pretty special.”
“It’s just a special moment,” Pujols said. “It’s great, but you get to the part that we lost the game, and that to me is important, too.”
Pujols has 646 career homers, including 445 in his 11 seasons with the Cardinals. His 111 home runs at the new Busch Stadium are the most by anyone.
The three-time NL MVP who helped the Cardinals win two World Series championships returned to the ballpark on Friday night for the first time since helping St. Louis take the 2011 title. Pujols signed with the Angels after that season, and they hadn’t played an interleague game at Busch until this weekend.
Pujols was showered with ovations while hitting a single in two at-bats and drawing a walk Friday night. He went 1 for 4 in this loss, the third in a row for the Angels.
“I guess Cardinals fans got what they wanted today,” Los Angeles manager Brad Ausmus said. “They got a win and they got an Albert home run.”
The Cardinals won for the fifth time in seven games.
Ozuna hit his team-leading 20th homer of the season off Felix Peña in the sixth inning to make it 4-0 lead. Ozuna homered for the second straight day.
Hudson (6-3), who surrendered the homer to Pujols, gave up one run on five hits in a season-high 112-pitch stint over seven innings. He struck out six and walked one. He has allowed one earned run or less in four of his last five starts.
Hudson grew up with Pujols posters on the wall in his room. He did not mind the home fans cheering the emotional home run.
“The guy deserves that ovation,” Hudson said. “It was a lot of fun just being able to go out there and face him.”
St. Louis manager Mike Shildt enjoyed the atmosphere.
“What a special moment for him,” Shildt said. “And the whole stadium and really Cardinal Nation. He’s an icon and a living legend.”
Hudson was able to refocus after the homer. He retired three of the next four hitters to finish his afternoon with a 4-1 lead.
“One big swing can turn to two,” Hudson said. “You just have to limit it. I took in the moments. I enjoyed what I was doing put there.”
Paul Goldschmidt had two hits for St. Louis.
Justin Upton also homered for the Angels, a solo shot in the eighth. Pena (5-2) started the third inning in relief of opener Noé Ramirez.
St. Louis broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the fifth on a throwing error. Yadier Molina singled and Kolten Wong walked before Hudson set down a bunt that Peña threw wildly to third.
Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks left the game with two outs in the ninth. Shildt said Hicks felt tightness in his triceps.
“More like a cramp,” Shildt said. “He feels good — it’s favorable news.”
Tyler Webb picked up his first save by retiring Jonathan Lucroy on a grounder to end the game.
The Cardinals improved to 185-177 in interleague play, the best among NL teams.
Angels: RHP Trevor Cahill (right elbow inflammation) is almost ready to return to the active roster. Manager Brad Ausmus would not commit to whether he will return to the starting rotation or pitch out of the bullpen.
Cardinals: INF Jedd Gyorko will undergo a minor arthroscopic procedure on his right wrist on Monday. Shildt says there is no structural damage and that Gyorko’s recovery from his wrist surgery should coincide with his return from his calf injury that has kept him on the injured list since June 8.
St. Louis RHP Miles Mikolas (5-7, 4.48) will face LHP Tyler Skaggs (6-6, 4.61) in the finale of the three-game set on Sunday night. Mikolas tossed six scoreless innings in a 5-0 win over Miami on Monday. Skaggs, who is looking to win his third successive start, leads the Angles in wins and strikeouts (70).