Pujols launches No. 537 to pass Mantle
Angels slugger is now 16th on all-time home run list
ST. PETERSBURG -- Albert Pujols assumed sole possession of 16th place on Major League Baseball's all-time home run list Thursday night when he launched a ninth-inning fastball from Rays right-hander Preston Guilmet into the left-field seats at Tropicana Field for the 537th roundtripper of his career.
The milestone home run, which rounded out the scoring in the Angels' 6-2 victory over the Rays, was Pujols' 17th of the season and tied him with Mike Trout for the Halos' team lead. Trout briefly took the lead when he lined a solo shot to left in the sixth off Rays starter Alex Colome for the first Angels run.
"It's been a great career so far, but at the same time, I'm just glad that I was able to do something to help my ballclub win. To me, that's more important than anything else," said Pujols.
Pujols had tied Yankees great Mickey Mantle for 16th place in Tuesday night's game against the Rays when he deposited a fifth-inning fastball from Nate Karns into the right-field seats for home run No. 536.
"I've been swinging the bat well all year long and, if you stay with that approach, sooner or later they're going to fall," added Pujols, who has now hit nine homers in his last 13 games.
Highly touted Angels rookie Kyle Kubitza, playing in just his second Major League game, walked to open the ninth and scored his first career big league run on Pujols' historic blast.
"There's not too many people who can say that. It was awesome," beamed Kubitza, who tied the game at 2 with a run-scoring single in the seventh inning.
"Just to see history trotting around the bases and then coming to slap your hand first is something you can't describe."
The 24-year-old third baseman allowed himself to remain in the moment, despite the monumental nature of the event.
"At first it was like, 'That was really cool. Albert Pujols just hit a home run and I get to score,' and then it hit me as he was touching home plate and I was like, 'Oh, man, you just broke a record right here,'" said Kubitza.
Up next on the all-time home run list is Mike Schmidt, who sits in 15th place with 548 career blasts.
Pujols and Trout have now homered in the same game 24 times in their careers. Their combined 34 home runs this season are tops in the Major Leagues for a team duo.