Despite having a good season compared to his first two with the Los Angeles Angels, Albert Pujols was in something of an RBI drought the last couple of weeks. Until he met David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays, hitting two home runs to help the Angels pick up a 6-2 win.
Pujols hit early (1st inning) and late (7th inning) off of Price to reach 12 home runs this season and 29 RBIs after nine games and 39 at-bats without an RBI before hitting a double that also helped someone score in the third of four games against the Rays, ending 6-0. The Angels scored six runs in three of their four games in the series, winning in all those three.
It wasn’t just Pujols having a good day. Starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker took a shutout into the seventh inning, leaving after two outs. Kevin Kiermaier hit a home run off of Mike Morin to give the Rays a couple of runs which ruined Shoemaker’s bid to not allow a single earned run, but the Angels weren’t really worried about that little stat becoming a slip up.
Pujols never had a home run against Price, coming in 0-of-7 against the 2012 Cy Young winner. He became the 319 pitcher that has given up a home run to Pujols in the regular season. Price was already in trouble with that 0-2 count in the first inning that started all the scoring for the Angels, and has allowed five home runs during his career in that situation, while Pujols has hit 25 home runs with that kind of lead in the count.
This is the same swing I’ve been taking the last couple of weeks, and nothing went my way. Today I got some hits, so I was just glad I was able to contribute and help our ballclub win. As long as you stay positive and do the things you need to do and don’t try to kill yourself in the cage because you’re 0 for 10, you’ll be fine. I’ve been around this game long enough that I know what I’m capable of doing. Price is going to throw his game, but we had a game plan and we tried to execute it. The same way that we do our scouting report, they do theirs, so he knows how to pitch us. We just needed to make adjustments, and that’s what we did. He made a couple of mistakes and we took advantage. With a guy like him, you need to be aggressive, because he’s only going to give you one or two good pitches in four at-bats.
The Angels, who are now 24-19, 3.5 games behind the AL West best Oakland A’s. They finished with 12-of-35 at the plate as Howie Kendrick, Grant Green and Collin Cogwill also picked up RBIs. Pujols, playing as the DH, is hitting .269 this season.