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Pujols makes history off John Smoltz


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Pujols becomes first player to hit 30 homers in first five seasons

 

 

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals became the first player in major league history to hit 30 home runs in each of his first five seasons, connecting in the first inning off the Braves' John Smoltz on Friday night.

 

Pujols has hit 190 homers since breaking in with the Cardinals in 2001, including a career-best 46 last season. With two outs in the first, he hit Smoltz's first pitch over the left-field wall for a two-run shot that gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead.

 

Pujols hit 160 homers his first four seasons, second behind Ralph Kiner's 168 from 1946-49.

 

Kiner's 215 homers were the most by a player in his first five seasons. Pujols is tied with Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews for second.

 

Pujols rips record-setting homer

 

ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols has slugged his way into the record book.

 

The St. Louis slugger ripped the first pitch he saw from Atlanta's John Smoltz on Friday night into the left-field seats at Busch Stadium for his 30th home run, making Pujols the first player in Major League history to hit 30 or more homers in each of his first five seasons.

 

With one out and one on in the first inning, Pujols drove the a hanging split-fingered fastball from the Atlanta right-hander an estimated 383 feet to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead.

 

Pujols made his Major League debut with the Cardinals in 2001, when he hit .329 with 37 homers and 130 RBIs. He hit 34 homers in 2002, 43 in 2003 and 46 last season.

 

Pujols leads the Majors with 92 runs scored. He has scored 22 runs since the All-Star break, also tops in baseball. He is on a pace to score 137 runs, which would match his career high, set in 2003.

 

Should Pujols lead baseball in runs again this season he would become just the sixth player in baseball history and the first since Pete Rose (1974-76) to lead the Major Leagues in scoring three straight seasons.

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