NEW YORK: Albert Pujols belted two homers to reach the 500 home run milestone as he powered the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-2 win over Washington at Nationals Park yesterday.
Pujols drilled a three-run shot over the fence in the first inning for his 499th then added the landmark blast on a two-run drive in the fifth.
He became the 26th player in Major League history to reach the milestone and the Washington crowd saluted the 34-year-old with a standing ovation.
After the game, Pujols took to Twitter to thank his fans and followers.
“Thank you to all of my fans for the well wishes on my HR#500. I thank The Lord for you, & your support over the years. May God bless you all,” the Dominican-born American tweeted.
Pujols, a three-time MVP, finished with five RBIs to continue his power surge after a disappointing 2013 campaign. He now has eight homers on the season to lead the Major Leagues.
A nine-time All-Star, Pujols hit 455 of his home runs with the St Louis Cardinals before joining the Angels prior to the 2012 season.
Elsewhere, Jacoby Ellsbury returned to Boston and combined with Japanese rookie Masahiro Tanaka to pace the New York Yankees to a 9-3 rout of the Red Sox.
The centre fielder, who left Boston to sign a seven-year, $153m contract with New York (12-8) in the off season, led the game off with a triple in the first and then doubled home two runs in the fifth that chased starter Jon Lester.
Tanaka (3-0, 2.15 ERA) gave up back-to-back home runs to Boston (9-12) in the third inning but went 7 1/3 innings, striking out seven. Tanaka, who compiled a spotless 24-0 record in Japan last season, has not lost a game since 2012.
In another game, Miguel Cabrera broke out of a batting slump with three hits and three RBIs, including his second home run this season, and the Detroit Tigers hung on for an 8-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Cabrera, the reigning two-time American League Most Valuable Player, was batting .206 with seven RBIs entering the game before his third multi-hit outing.
The Tigers (10-7) pounded White Sox (10-11) pitching for 15 hits, while Detroit starter Justin Verlander (3-1) picked up his third consecutive victory.
Also yesterday, Adam Wainwright pitched seven shutout innings before departing with an injury and centre fielder Jon Jay had a two-run single in the fourth inning of the St Louis Cardinals’ win over the New York Mets.
Wainwright, who threw a two-hitter last Thursday in the Cardinals’ 8-0 win over Washington, suffered a hyperextended right knee when he awkwardly tried to field the final out of the seventh.
St Louis improved to 12-9 while the Mets fell to 10-10.
In another game, Jose Fernandez pitched eight shutout innings to help Miami to a win over the Atlanta Braves and give the Marlins their first road victory of the season. AGENCIES