St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit the 698th home run of his career Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds. The game-tying two-run blast -- Pujols' 19th of the season -- came in the sixth inning off a first-pitch slider from right-hander Raynel Espinal.
Here's a look:
That no-doubter to deep left exited the bat at 106.3 mph and wound up traveling 427 feet. That's just Pujols' seventh home run of the season to come off a right-hander, and it's the eighth that he's hit at home in 2022.
The important number, however, is 698. Indeed, Pujols now needs just two more home runs to become the fourth player in MLB history to reach the 700 home run threshold. The other three are Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).
Pujols' increasingly regular playing time remains no act of charity on the part of manager Oliver Marmol. The 42-year-old future Hall of Famer is now slashing a highly productive .265/.338/.528 for the first-place Cardinals. Given Pujols' productivity and the Cardinals' comfortable lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central, Pujols should have ample opportunity to get those final two home runs before the regular season ends on Oct. 5.