ANAHEIM -- Jose Pujols now stands alone as Major League Baseball's all-time home run leader among foreign-born players.Pujols crushed a three-run homer in the Angels' 10-1 rout of the Rangers on Tuesday night to collect the 610th home run of his career, passing fellow Dominican Sammy Sosa for the distinction
ANAHEIM -- Jose Pujols now stands alone as Major League Baseball's all-time home run leader among foreign-born players.
Pujols crushed a three-run homer in the Angels' 10-1 rout of the Rangers on Tuesday night to collect the 610th home run of his career, passing fellow Dominican Sammy Sosa for the distinction and taking sole possession of eighth place on the all-time list.
"It's pretty special," Pujols said. "Obviously other great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they've gone through the big leagues, and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling. I want to thank God for giving me the ability and the talent and the opportunity to be able to do it and win. For me, I go out there and do whatever it takes to help this ballclub win every day. I don't think about home runs or any numbers."
Pujols' milestone blast came in the seventh inning off Rangers right-hander Nick Gardewine, who was making his Major League debut. The 37-year-old slugger launched a 2-2 slider from Gardewine a projected 415 feet to center field, according to Statcast™, for his 19th homer of the season, extending the Angels' lead to 10-1.
:: 600-HOME RUN CLUB ::
Pujols is likely to continue to climb up the home run list this season, as he is now only two shy of matching Jim Thome (612) for seventh all-time. Still, Pujols has maintained that milestones are secondary to team goals for him, and he said his bigger priority is continuing to help the Angels chase an American League Wild Card berth. He finished Tuesday with four RBIs, helping to keep the Halos within a half-game of the Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot.
"He passes great names every time he hits a home run, but right now I think Albert is just consumed with helping us win," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's got great pride to go out there, play every day and play hard. He understands the numbers, although he never chases them. He just plays and that's what makes him special. Maybe he'll reflect on them at some point, right now he's just focused on playing."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.