PITTSBURGH -- Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun worked a full count in the sixth inning Sunday and lined out to first base. As he retreated to the dugout, fiery Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole stared him down and shot a few words in his direction. Calhoun didn't hear it, but Albert
PITTSBURGH -- Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun worked a full count in the sixth inning Sunday and lined out to first base. As he retreated to the dugout, fiery Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole stared him down and shot a few words in his direction. Calhoun didn't hear it, but Albert Pujols did. And when Cole reached base on a single in the bottom half of the frame, Pujols voiced his displeasure to the Pirates' ace, delivering what appeared to be a stern lecture.
"I don't want to talk about that," Pujols said of the exchange. "I said what I had to say to him, and that's it."
Two innings later, Pujols picked his teammates up in a different way.
Trailing by a run with one out in the eighth, the first baseman turned on a chest-high, 94-mph fastball from Pirates setup man Tony Watson and lined it over the left-field fence, good for the two-run home run that led the Angels to a 5-4 victory and allowed them to take two of three against a strong Pirates club at PNC Park.
The ball left Pujols' bat at 103 mph, according to Statcast™. It was his 12th home run this season, the 572nd of his career -- one away from Harmon Killebrew for 11th place on the all-time list -- and his first on an 0-2 count all year.
"I'm just glad that I got the [bat head] out," Pujols said. "I think I got some good pitches to hit in this series, and I just kept missing them. That one, I was able to square it up."
Pujols squared up several balls early in the year, but the results weren't there. Lately, though, the hits have begun to fall in.
Dating back to the middle of May, Pujols is batting .324 (22-for-68) with four home runs, 16 RBIs and 11 walks over a 19-game stretch. Sunday marked the 28th time Pujols has hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later. He also won a game with a homer in Seattle on May 14, that one in the ninth.
"The reality is to be able to catch some breaks," Pujols said, his slash line at .238/.319/.433. "If you look at the balls I was hitting in April, I was hitting the ball hard. I just couldn't catch a break. But it's part of baseball. At the end of the day, you can't get frustrated. It happens."
The Pirates threatened off Huston Street in the ninth, putting runners on second and third with one out. After an intentional walk of Starling Marte, Street got Sean Rodriguez to bounce into a game-ending, 6-4-3 double play.
Pujols rolled his left ankle while stretching to his right to catch the throw from second baseman Gregorio Petit, momentarily staying on the ground before lifting himself up to congratulate his teammates.
"I'm all right," said Pujols, who has started at first base in six of the Angels' last eight games. "I should be OK."
Pujols was serene in the aftermath of Sunday's victory. In the middle of the sixth, though, he was animated in the dugout, his anger directed at the Cole staredown he witnessed while approaching the on-deck circle. The exchange that followed at first base will remain there.
Said Cole: "That conversation will stay on the field."
"Whatever I had to say, I said it to him," Pujols said. "And that stays between me and him."
Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.