Cardinals: Albert Pujols’ Best Moments During The 2022 Season
By Gavin Semler
Pujols Walks It Off
Like many Cardinals games this year, for better or worse, the evening matchup versus the San Diego Padres once again came down to the wire. Overall, pitching on both sides performed masterfully, and with neither offense able to get anything going in the ninth, the game proceeded into extra innings.
Thanks to the efforts of relief pitcher Drew VerHagen and an incredible outfield assist by Lars Nootbaar, the Padres offense went dormant in the top of the 10th, providing the Cardinals an excellent opportunity to walk it off.
With one out, Paul Goldschmidt on first and Tommy Edman at second, Albert Pujols stepped to the plate to make magic happen. While Albert took the first pitch, Edman made a mad dash for third, making it in the nick of time to set up a sacrifice fly. All the Cardinals needed now was for Albert to deliver.
And deliver he did. On a 1-2 pitch from Taylor Rodgers, Pujols ripped a ball into left, far enough for Edman to tag up and race home uncontested.
A celebratory shower from Yadi was, of course, obligatory.
A Grand Spectacle
As the season ground on, so did Albert’s quest for the elusive 700 home run mark. Posting a somewhat unproductive June, the feat appeared to be increasingly unattainable by the day. Three home runs in July helped restore some hope, and another three in the opening days of the August campaign, including two in the rubber match against the Brewers furthered his cause even more.
It appeared that any further home runs would have to wait however as Albert was not named as a starter for the game against the Rockies on the 18th. Despite this, next to perfect circumstances would present themselves in just the third inning.
Antonio Senzatela, the starting pitcher for Colorado, sadly found himself severely injured on a tight play at first, bringing in reliever Austin Gomber. Cardinals hitters this year have been very good against Austin Gomber, and Albert Pujols is no exception.
Gomber, who had already surrendered a run in the third, had loaded the bases on a walk to Lars Nootbaar. Whoever had the luxury of hitting next had a prime opportunity to do some serious damage. Oliver Marmol decided that that next hitter would be Albert Pujols.
Seeing his pitch, Pujols once again proved that he was still The Machine with a 105-mph rocket over the left field wall. It was the 16th grand slam of his career, tying him with legends Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, and the first he ever hit as a pinch hitter.
With that home run, Pujols sat just 10 long balls shy of 700. To achieve that feat is something that only three players in the history of baseball have done. Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, once again, and Barry Bonds.
Incredibly, something equally as special would follow just two days later.