Pujols' ridiculous numbers against this team

September 1st, 2022

This story was excerpted from John Denton's Cardinals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Cincinnati was the most recent stop on likely first-ballot Hall of Famer ’ final victory lap around Major League Baseball. Ahead of Wednesday’s series finale, the Reds honored Pujols, along with nine-time Gold Glove Award winner Yadier Molina, with an on-field ceremony. 

Fans in Cincinnati may not miss “The Machine” as much as the ovations they gave him prior to each at-bat would suggest, as Pujols has tormented the city at the plate for many years. Pujols cemented himself as one of the all-time Reds killers in 192 games played against them over the course of his career, in which he amassed 48 home runs and 151 RBIs. 

Pujols made sure to give Reds fans one final parting gift Monday afternoon, when he slugged his 694th career home run off Ross Detwiler in the third inning of a series-opening 13-4 victory.

While the 42-year-old’s quest for 700 home runs may have seemed a bit far-fetched at the start of the season, it now appears within reach. 

“We’re having a blast watching Albert do what he’s done,” manager Oliver Marmol said on Monday. “He’s swinging the bat well. … He’s putting together a nice season, it’s been nice to watch.”  

It was even more fitting that Detwiler, a St. Louis native who was 15 years old when Pujols made his debut in 2001, became the record-breaking 450th pitcher to allow a home run to him. 

"His career speaks for itself,” Detwiler said. “All of the numbers and everything are better than anything we’ve ever seen in person. At least I have, anyway. It’s pretty unbelievable he has been so good for so long." 

Let’s take some time to revisit two of Pujols’ best moments against the Reds.

April 16, 2006: Starting ‘06 on the right foot 

Just weeks into the Cardinals’ improbable 2006 World Series championship season, they welcomed a Jerry Narron-managed Reds team to St. Louis for an early-season divisional battle. 

Pujols put on a show in his home ballpark, blasting a trio of home runs, capped off with a walk-off two-run blast against Cincinnati reliever David Weathers, giving St. Louis an 8-7 victory. 

This marked the second of four games in Pujols’ illustrious career in which he has hit three home runs. The game was also a sign of good things to come for him, as he went on to hit a career-high 49 home runs and drive in 137 runs that season.

July 3, 2009: Carrying the load 

When the Cardinals came to Cincinnati in early July 2009, they found themselves with an opportunity to overtake the Reds for first place in the NL Central. After struggling against Homer Bailey through seven innings in a 3-0 deficit, Pujols cashed in with a go-ahead grand slam with one out in the top of the eighth inning.

The Reds would come back to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, but the Cards rallied for three more runs to take the lead right back an inning later. The comeback was capped off by an RBI double by Pujols that scored utility man -- and current St. Louis bench coach -- Skip Schumaker.