HOUSTON -- Jose Pujols positioned himself perfectly to reach the 3,000-hit milestone in front of his hometown crowd in Anaheim.His 2,994th career hit, a homer off Justin Verlander in the seventh inning during the Angels' 5-2 loss to the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday, leaves him needing six
HOUSTON -- Jose Pujols positioned himself perfectly to reach the 3,000-hit milestone in front of his hometown crowd in Anaheim.
His 2,994th career hit, a homer off Justin Verlander in the seventh inning during the Angels' 5-2 loss to the Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday, leaves him needing six more knocks, which will tie him with Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente for 31st on the all-time hits list.
The Angels just completed a brief three-game road trip in Houston. They're headed back to Anaheim to begin a homestand on Friday with the Yankees and Orioles, giving Pujols six games to record six hits at home.
"I guess the buzz term now is, 'organically,'" Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's going to happen when he gets [six] hits. Wherever it happens, it's going to be a special moment. If it happens at home, if it happens on the road, wherever it happens, it will be marked with the greatness that the accomplishment is."
Pujols' homer off Verlander was his 31st home run hit at Minute Maid Park, the most by any opponent in the ballpark's history. It was also his 64th overall against the Astros, including the postseason. He is by far the most successful of Houston's opposing hitters. The only players within 20 home runs of Pujols' total when facing the Astros are Hank Aaron (46) and Willie McCovey (44).
Pujols is one of the few Angels hitters who had any success on Wednesday against Verlander. The Astros right-hander was nearly perfect through six, with the exception of one Zack Cozart bloop hit to center field.
Pujols' homer was the third time he's taken Verlander deep. He entered the game slashing .300/.432/.600 against the right-hander.
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.