ANAHEIM -- Having been Jose Pujols' teammate with the Angels in 2012, Twins right-hander Ervin Santana knows all about Pujols' character and the impact he's had on Major League Baseball.So when Santana served up career homer No. 600 to Pujols in the fourth inning of Saturday's 7-2 loss, he was
ANAHEIM -- Having been Jose Pujols' teammate with the Angels in 2012, Twins right-hander Ervin Santana knows all about Pujols' character and the impact he's had on Major League Baseball.
So when Santana served up career homer No. 600 to Pujols in the fourth inning of Saturday's 7-2 loss, he was frustrated that it was the third homer he'd allowed in a rare subpar start, but was happy for his former teammate reaching a milestone that only nine players in baseball history have ever reached.
"I'm not the only one, you know," Santana said with a laugh about giving up the homer to Pujols, who has gone deep against 386 different pitchers. "I'm No. 9 right now on the 600 club. He's very nice and very humble. He always worked hard and you can tell. He's The Machine."
:: Albert Pujols 600-HR club coverage ::
Santana, a native of La Romana, Dominican Republic, was also proud that his countryman reached the 600-homer plateau, joining fellow Dominican Sammy Sosa as the only players born outside the United States to reach 600 homers. It was the second time Pujols had taken Santana deep, but the first time since '13.
"That's a good thing for our country," Santana said.
Twins manager Paul Molitor, a Hall of Famer who reached the 3,000 hit milestone, had said earlier in the week that he hoped Pujols' homer would come with his club having a big lead. Instead, the homer served as a knockout blow, but Molitor was still in awe of Pujols' accomplishment.
"I think we can all appreciate that," Molitor said. "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."
Santana's command was off all night -- he also gave up back-to-back homers to Andrelton Simmons and Kole Calhoun in the third -- and left a 1-2 slider up in the zone against Pujols. It wasn't exactly crushed, as Statcast™ projected it at 363 feet, but Pujols got it up in the air and it carried down the left-field line for a grand slam that gave the Angels a six-run lead.
Santana surrendered a season-high seven runs on seven hits and three walks over four innings, causing his ERA to rise from 1.75 to 2.44.
"I got beat up," Santana said. "They took advantage of the fact I was behind in the count a lot of the time."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.