Albert Pujols hits 696th career home run

PITTSBURGH — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit the 696th home run of his career on Saturday night against the Pirates to move into a fourth-place tie with Alex Rodriguez on the all-time list.

Now, only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) have more home runs than Pujols over the course of his brilliant 22-year MLB career. Pujols, 42, announced in Spring Training that this will be the final season of his career, and he has remained steadfast in that, regardless of how many home runs he winds up hitting.

All-time HR leaderboard
1. Barry Bonds, 762
2. Henry Aaron, 755
3. Babe Ruth, 714
4. Albert Pujols, 696
4. Alex Rodriguez, 696

Pujols, who has 17 home runs this season for the Cardinals, also extended his MLB record for hitting a home run off 452 different pitchers. Former Cub Ryan Dempster surrendered the most Pujols home runs of any pitcher by yielding eight.

Prior to this season, Bonds held the MLB record for homering off 449 pitchers, but Pujols moved past him with a stirring finish to the season in terms of his power production. Pujols had just four home runs through the first three months of the season, but he found his stroke in July (three home runs), and he again resembled the feared slugger he was early in his career with eight homers in August.

Pujols pulled within one home run of matching Rodriguez’s mark of 696 when he had a pinch-hit, two-run home run to break a scoreless tie in the eighth inning as the Cardinals topped the Cubs on Sept. 4. It was the seventh pinch-hit home run of his career and the second one of this season. On Aug. 18, Pujols had a pinch-hit grand slam in a 13-0 defeat of the Rockies — the first such home run of his career.

That No. 695 also came in what proved to be the final at-bat he’d ever take against the NL Central rival Cubs, off whom he’s hit 59 career homers. In addition to homering against all 30 teams, Pujols has hit 62 home runs against the Astros, 59 against the Cubs, 53 against the Pirates, 48 ​​versus the Reds and 45 against the Brewers.

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