Statcast of the Day: Pujols mashes monster HR

First baseman's jack was his first since June 17

July 4th, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- Angels slugger has clobbered hundreds of homers in his career, and they all feel the same to him.

Statcast™ has tracked 80 of his 603 home runs, all since the start of 2015, and Tuesday's blast on Independence Day was the longest. According to Statcast™, his solo shot in the eighth traveled an estimated 459 feet to left-center. It narrowed the Angels' deficit to 5-3, but a late push wouldn't be enough as Los Angeles fell to Minnesota, 5-4, at Target Field.

"It doesn't matter to me, as long as they don't catch it," Pujols said. "It can go 405 or 500 feet, it doesn't matter to me. The only thing that matters is putting good swings [on the ball]. It's cool to hit it far, but it's also cool if you just barely hit it out too. It's a home run at the end of the day."

It was the first home run by Pujols since June 17, snapping a drought of 64 straight plate appearances. It was also the longest shot by a Halos hitter in 2017 and the third longest since Statcast™ started tracking homers. Pujols' previous best was a 454-foot shot he crushed on May 30, 2015 off Detroit's .

Pujols watched the first three pitches of the at-bat go by him for a ball. After taking a fastball for a strike, Pujols then fouled off the next three offerings from Minnesota right-hander . Pujols then launched a two-seam fastball to center for the team's second solo shot of the afternoon.

According to Statcast™, the ball left the bat at 106.4 mph. Only his blast on May 5, which had an exit velocity of 107.1, was hit harder.

"Albert has been hitting the ball hard this week, but he got one up in the air. Ball went a long way and he killed it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "As a team, we haven't been driving the ball very well this year. But right now, it's good to see."

It trimmed the deficit to two runs at the time, but the damage could have been even greater. Earlier in the inning, center fielder got caught trying to swipe second base to get in scoring position.

The running game has been the strong suit for the team all year, however. Entering Tuesday, the Halos led all of baseball with 76 thefts on a 75-percent success rate. By comparison, the team swiped 34 bags through the first 88 games of the year in 2016

And with 's return drawing near and a successful running game, it would be the icing on the cake for the team if Pujols was putting the ball over the fence again.

"It was very nice [to see him get a hold of one]," Maybin said. "He's a guy that is always confident and has picked me up through a lot of hard outs with good at-bats. He continues to keep his faith, I think he will be fine."