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Angels celebrate Pujols' 600th with victory

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols reached career home run No. 600 in style, becoming the first player to reach the milestone on a grand slam, to help carry the Angels to a 7-2 win over the Twins on Saturday night at Angel Stadium. 

Pujols, who reached 599 homers Tuesday, lifted a 1-2 slider from Twins right-hander and former teammate Ervin Santana down the left-field line for a grand slam to give the Angels a six-run lead in the fourth and bring the crowd of 40,236 to its feet. It was skied, as the 42-degree launch angle was his second-highest in the Statcast™ era, dating back to 2015. The homer, Pujols' ninth of the year, left the bat at 100.5 mph and traveled a projected 363 feet, which was the 37-year-old's fourth-shortest projected homer since '15.

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ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols reached career home run No. 600 in style, becoming the first player to reach the milestone on a grand slam, to help carry the Angels to a 7-2 win over the Twins on Saturday night at Angel Stadium. 

Pujols, who reached 599 homers Tuesday, lifted a 1-2 slider from Twins right-hander and former teammate Ervin Santana down the left-field line for a grand slam to give the Angels a six-run lead in the fourth and bring the crowd of 40,236 to its feet. It was skied, as the 42-degree launch angle was his second-highest in the Statcast™ era, dating back to 2015. The homer, Pujols' ninth of the year, left the bat at 100.5 mph and traveled a projected 363 feet, which was the 37-year-old's fourth-shortest projected homer since '15.

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The slugger said he felt relieved to have finally achieved the milestone.

"I was trying to get a pitch to hit," Pujols said. "Sometimes, as player, we are human; you try to do too much, but really in that at-bat I was really calm. I didn't know I was going to hit it out, but I knew I was going to have a good at-bat, because it was a different feeling than the first two at-bats that I had, and I was able to put a good swing on that slider."

Video: MIN@LAA: Pujols discusses hitting his 600th career HR

 Pujols, a 10-time All-Star and three-time MVP, joined an exclusive list that includes Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Alex Rodriguez (696), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey Jr. (630), Jim Thome (612) and Sammy Sosa (609). Pujols, Aaron and Bonds are the only players with 600 homers and 600 doubles, while Pujols and Sosa -- both from the Dominican Republic -- are the only two who were not born in the United States.

"I think we can all appreciate that," said Twins manager Paul Molitor, a Hall of Famer, who reached 3,000 hits. "It's just tough to applaud when it's a grand slam that put us down six. But give him credit because he got down in the count, but Ervin left a slider he could handle it. I think everyone kind of salutes him on that accomplishment. There's no denying it's incredible and who knows how much he has left in some of these categories."

Andrelton Simmons and Kole Calhoun hit back-to-back homers in the third to help power the Angels. Santana uncharacteristically struggled, allowing seven runs on seven hits and three walks over four innings against his former team. He fell to 7-3 with a 2.44 ERA.

Max Kepler supplied the offense for the Twins, lacing an RBI single in the first and smacking a solo homer in the sixth off right-hander Matt Shoemaker. Shoemaker, though, was otherwise solid, surrendering two runs on five hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings to improve to 5-3 with a 4.12 ERA.

Video: MIN@LAA: Kepler drills solo a homer to center field

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pujols makes history:
Pujols was 1-for-9 with four strikeouts in the series before coming up to the plate against Santana with the bases loaded. But Santana left an 86.8 mph slider up in the zone, and Pujols didn't miss it. At 37 years, 138 days, he became the fourth-youngest player to reach the milestone, trailing Rodriguez, Ruth and Aaron. It was also his 14th career grand slam and his second with the Angels. More >

Video: Pujols lays powerful trail on his way to 600 homers

Simba roars, Calhoun does, too: Simmons ripped a two-run home run into left field in the third inning, vaulting the Angels ahead, 2-1. Calhoun followed up with a homer into right field, giving the Angels a 3-1 lead. Simmons' homer came on the first pitch after Eric Young Jr. was plunked, while Calhoun's came on an 0-1 slider. 

"I got beat up," Santana said. "They took advantage of the fact I was behind in the count a lot of the time."

Video: MIN@LAA: Simmons, Calhoun drill back-to-back homers

QUOTABLE
"Before I hit the home run, she told me, 'You need to stay back and just look for a pitch to hit!' … I'm glad that I listened to her." -- Pujols on the advice his wife sent him in a text before the historic at-bat  More >

"I'm not the only one, you know. I'm No. 9 right now on the 600-club." -- Santana on being on the wrong side of history, giving up the homer to Pujols  More >

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Pujols' homer helped set a Major League record for grand slams in a single day, as his was the sixth of a record seven on the day.

Video: MIN@LAA: Fan gives Pujols his 600th home run ball

MAGNIFICO DEBUTS FOR THE ANGELS
Right-hander Damien Magnifico made his club debut during the ninth inning. Magnifico was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake prior to Saturday's contest. He walked two of the three batters he faced prior to being lifted in favor of right-hander Bud Norris. Magnifico was acquired from the Orioles on May 6.

Video: MIN@LAA: Magnifico fans Polanco in the 9th

WHAT'S NEXT
Twins: Right-hander Jose Berrios (3-1, 2.70 ERA) starts for the Twins in the series finale on Sunday at 2:37 p.m. CT. Berrios is coming off his lone shaky start of the year, allowing four runs over five innings against the Astros.

Angels: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco (2-5, 5.07 ERA) will make his 12th start of the season for the Halos on Sunday at 12:37 p.m. PT. He allowed a season-high six runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out just two batters over a season-low 2 2/3 innings against Atlanta in his latest start. The Twins traded Nolasco to Los Angeles in 2015.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Ervin Santana, Matt Shoemaker