Albert Pujols hit three solo home runs in the Angels' doubleheader sweep of the Boston Red Sox on Monday, adding Mike Schmidt to the list of Hall of Fame members he has passed this season on his rise up the all-time home run list. The others: Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Willie McCovey and Frank Thomas.
"It seems like every time Albert hits a home run, there's someone he's passing," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's reaching the immortals now. He's going to be one of them himself one day."
The Angels first baseman hit his 27th home run, to left-center field in the second inning of the Angels' 11-1 victory in the first game. He took the major league lead with his 28th and 29th home runs, in the second and seventh innings, of the second game, a 7-3 win.
Pujols, 35, has 549 home runs, passing Schmidt for 15th place on the all-time list. He moved into 12th place, and past Ty Cobb, on the extra-base hit list with his 1,138th.
"To be able to tie and pass Mike Schmidt is pretty special for me because I remember when I was a rookie, he came to the [St. Louis] Cardinals' camp," Pujols said. "He's a really good friend of Tony La Russa, he spoke to our club, and I got to know him over the last few years."
Pujols, who has 24 home runs, 22 strikeouts and 21 walks in his last 57 games, became the first Angels player to hit a home run in each game of a doubleheader since Garrett Anderson on July 16, 1995, in Detroit's Tiger Stadium.
He is on pace for 51 home runs, which would pass his career-high of 49, set in 2006. He and Mike Trout, who hit a home run in the fifth inning of the second game, have combined for 57 home runs, the same number the Atlanta Braves have hit this season.
Trout and Pujols hit a home run in the same game for the seventh time this season and 24th overall.
"When Mike and Albert homer, they can carry you. ... If they keep going like they're going, there's no doubt they'll get most valuable player consideration," Scioscia said.
On the offensive
Erick Aybar hit two singles and scored twice in the first game and capped a four-run third inning in the second game with a two-run single to center field against knuckleballer Steven Wright.
The shortstop doubled in the fifth inning of the second game and is batting .467 (21 for 45) over his last 13 games and .404 (36 for 89) since June 19 to raise his average from .246 to .288.
Third baseman David Freese hit a three-run home run that traveled an estimated 452 feet to center field in the fourth inning of Game 1, the second-longest of his career.
High and dry
The Angel Stadium outfield, under water Sunday night, was in good shape for the doubleheader after the Angels brought in a helicopter to hover over the turf and act like a blow dryer Monday morning.
"We played a Babe Ruth state championship game in Pennsylvania, and when it stopped raining, all of a sudden some fire trucks came," Scioscia said. "Guys came out and poured gasoline on the basepaths and lit them on fire, and we played about 40 minutes later. So I've seen some stuff."