ST. LOUIS – Albert Pujols treated fans to one last dinger at Busch Stadium – at least, in the regular season.
Pujols took Pirates pitcher Roansy Contreras deep to the center field green patch on an 0-1 pitch in the bottom of the third inning. The 409-foot shot was Pujols’ 23rd homer of the season and number 702 in the slugger’s illustrious career.
The home run tied the game at four runs apiece. With a two-run double in the first frame, Pujols drew even with Babe Ruth on the all-time RBI list, with 2,214. Hank Aaron holds the career RBI record with 2,297.
As he crossed home plate to a cacophony of cheers from the Busch faithful, Pujols dapped up teammate Nolan Arenado before embracing long-time friend and teammate Yadier Molina.
Pujols went into the dugout for a round of handshakes and hugs from coaches and teammates, but stepped back onto the field to doff his helmet to the roaring crowd.
No. 702 would come during the final at bat in Pujols’ regular season home game. Fittingly, he hit a home run in his first at bat in St. Louis on April 9, 2001 (at Busch Stadium II).
Head coach Oliver Marmol pulled Pujols, Molina, and starting pitcher Adam Wainwright at the same time in the top of the fifth inning, allowing the trio the honor of exiting the game together to applause from a grateful Cardinal Nation.
During a pregame celebration of Pujols and Molina’s careers, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones declared Oct. 4, 2022 as Yadier Molina Day and Oct. 5, 2022 as Albert Pujols Day across the city.
Pujols thanked Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt III, Marmol, and the front office for bringing him back to the organization earlier this year, and to the fans and his teammates for restoring his love of the game.
“I love you all, you guys are always gonna have a special place in my heart. God bless you all,” Pujols said.