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HEIM -- Albert Pujols went a full month without hitting his first home run of the season, and still, he reached 30.
He did it Wednesday night -- in the ninth inning of a game that put the Angels exactly three weeks away from the regular-season finale -- by taking a high 2-2 fastball from A's lefty Sean Doolittle and blasting it way over the left-field fence to give the Angels their only run in a 4-1 loss to Oakland. It was his first homer since Aug. 28.
Pujols, 32, is the first player to hit 30-plus homers in each of his first 12 seasons -- even though his first in an Angels uniform didn't come until May 6. He's the fourth to hit 30-plus homers in a run of 12 straight seasons at any point in his career, joining Barry Bonds (13 straight, from 1992 to 2004), Alex Rodriguez (13 straight from 1998 to 2010) and Jimmie Foxx (12 straight, from 1929-40).
He now has 475 for his career, putting him in a tie for 28th on the all-time list with Hall of Famers Willie Stargell and Stan "The Man" Musial, whom Pujols was very fond of during his 11-year run in St. Louis.
Despite the slow start, Pujols -- relegated to designated-hitter duties the past 14 games because of a still-sore right calf -- is batting .287, needs four RBIs to reach 100 for the 11th time in his career and ranks sixth in the American League in total bases.
But on a night when the Angels dropped their third straight game -- falling to 3 1/2 back of the second AL Wild Card spot with 19 games remaining -- Pujols was in no mood to talk about personal accomplishments. He wanted to keep the focus on the game.