Yankee Stadium was once known as the “House that Ruth Built.” Minute Maid Park could be dubbed, the “Park that Pujols Destroyed.”
Tuesday night, he did it again. Pujols slammed a three-run homer over the train tracks in left field to break up a 2-2 game in the fifth inning, giving the Los Angeles Angels a 5-2 lead and eventual win.
The home run was Pujols’ 54th career blast against Astros pitching and his 29th at Minute Maid Park. The 54 homers are the most against Houston pitching all time and the 29 homers are the most any opposing player has hit at the venue.
Pujols downplayed his career numbers at Minute Maid.
“There are some (ballparks) you are going to have success and some you are going to struggle,” he said. “But you can’t go by that. You have to come every day, every game is different. No matter what kind of success you have to put that in the past and flip the page.”
The homer came off Astros starter Joe Musgrove, who took a 2-1 lead into the fifth inning. Musgrove thought Pujols hit a good pitch.
“It was where we were trying to go,” he said. “Maybe I gotta go a little more in off the plate. We had gotten in on his (Pujols) hands earlier in the game, some sinkers heavy in. I thought it was a good pitch.”
Prior to the Pujols at bat, Mike Trout laced a line drive to right center field that barely deflected off the tip of George Springer’s glove in a diving attempt. The double plated a run to tie the game. With first base open and Pujols in the box, A.J. Hinch didn’t regret not working around the Angels DH.
“He (Musgrove) had handled Pujols pretty well,” Hinch said. “He had broken his bat on a pop up to himself, then a little chopper to third. So if he makes his pitch I think we have a little bit of a different outcome. But obviously he left a ball up and Pujols put a good swing on it.”
Pujols had entered the game hitting just .200 with one home run.
“You are always pleased anytime you get an opportunity to help your team out to win,” Pujols added. “That is my job.”
The Astros two runs came on solo homers from Yuli Gurriel, his first of the year, and George Springer who drilled his seventh of the season, a 441 foot shot off the batter’s eye in center field.
The win snapped the Astros five-game winning streak and ended the Angels six-game losing effort.
Game three of the series will take place Wednesday night with Dallas Keuchel (2-0 0.86) starting for the Astros against the Angels J.C. Ramirez.
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