ANAHEIM -- The milestones keep coming for Albert Pujols, who set another record on Wednesday, as he became the all-time hits leader among players born outside the United States, passing Adrian Beltre with career hit No. 3,167 on an RBI single to right field in the fourth inning of Wednesday's 7-4 win over the Pirates.
Pujols came to the plate against right-hander Chris Archer with two outs, and scored Mike Trout with a single to right after Trout stole second. The single helped Pujols move into 15th place on the all-time hits list and past Beltre, who, like Pujols, hails from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Pujols went 2-for-4 with three RBIs on the night, adding a two-run single in the eighth.
“It’s pretty special. but I give all the glory to God, first of all,” Pujols said. “I don’t play for the records. It’s good to have on your resume as a ballplayer, but there are so many people around me who helped me along the way to get where I am today. That includes my wife, my kids, my family and my coaches I had in the past.”
Pujols, 39, has reached several milestones this year, including reaching 2,000 RBIs on May 9, and becoming the first member of the 650-homer, 650-double club on July 28. Next up on the all-time hits list is Cal Ripken Jr. with 3,184 hits, while he’s nine homers away from catching Willie Mays for fifth all-time with 660 homers.
“At the end of the day, when I’m done with this game, I’ll have plenty of time to look back on my career,” Pujols said. “Obviously, one of the best third basemen to ever play the game was Beltre. From my country, a future Hall of Famer, so it’s pretty special."
Angels manager Brad Ausmus said he’s starting to run out of words to describe the career of Pujols, who is already the all-time leader among foreign-born players in homers (651), doubles (653), runs (1,815) and RBIs (2,052). He’s also the active leader in those categories as well.
“What more can we say? He’s one of the greatest players to ever play the game, one of the greatest hitters ever to play the game,” Ausmus said. “He’s gonna pass some other names, I’m sure, that are very well known and have plaques in Cooperstown. I’m kind of running out of accolades.”
The RBI single also sparked a four-run rally for the Angels with two outs against Archer. Pujols reached second on a wild pitch and scored on a double from David Fletcher. Luis Rengifo then followed with a double to left that the Pirates' Bryan Reynolds misplayed, allowing both Fletcher and Rengifo to score.
Pujols later gave the Angels two insurance runs with a two-run single to center in the eighth inning off Pittsburgh reliever Geoff Hartlieb. Pujols hit a slow roller up the middle with the infield in to score both Shohei Ohtani and Kole Calhoun. Pujols, who is hitting .242/.299/.433, now has 70 RBIs in 96 games this year while serving as the club’s primary first baseman.
"He just keeps doing what he does," said lefty Dillon Peters, who gave up two runs over six innings to get the win. "He's [an] awesome player to watch, a future Hall of Famer and it's a blessing to be able to put on a uniform with him and share a clubhouse. He's a great guy. Everyone here looks up to him, and it's just awesome to watch him chase his dream, and chase all the milestones he's already overcome. There's going to be more to come."