Angels slugger Albert Pujols makes statement with key hits
Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols hits a a two-run single in the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday. (Christine Cotter / Associated Press)
had apparently read enough about his one-for-20 start. He sat at his cubicle, sneering and raising an eyebrow at those who felt obligated to point it out.
This, of course, after he had homered and later singled in two runs to tie the score in the same implausible ninth inning in which the Angels scored seven times to beat the Seattle Mariners 10-9.
Pujols said he hadn’t been any more comfortable Sunday than in any other game this season.
“I’ve been comfortable since the season started in Oakland,” he said. “You guys just like to start pointing fingers with 10 at-bats into a season.
“I’ve been in this situation before. I know what I can do. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I try to stay positive all the time and do the best I can do to help the team win.”
Pujols is in his 17th season. The home run was his 592nd and it was the first of the seven runs the Angels would go on to score.
“He got the one to get us going, but the much bigger hit … he went with it and drove in it into right field to tie the game,” manager Mike Scioscia said.
Scioscia had played it cool before Saturday’s game when Pujols’ one-for-20 start had been mentioned, saying he was far from worried that the majors’ active RBI and home run leader was off to a slow start.
Saturday night Pujols went three for four with a double, all prelude to his Sunday production in the ninth.
“You could easily have come in the ninth inning and said, ‘Oh, six runs. They have a great closer, a great bullpen.’ But you just go out and battle,” Pujols said.
“One thing I learned from [former St. Louis Cardinals manager] Tony La Russa is when a game is like that you don’t ever want to give your at-bats away. And that’s how everybody takes it.”
Anyway, Pujols figured everything now is something of a bonus for him. When he had foot surgery last December, doctors originally said he could be out up to four months.
“The big thing is I’m blessed to be here playing when I was supposed to miss the first two months of the season,” he said.
Matt Shoemaker faced Seattle’s Kyle Seager for the first time since the third baseman lined a drive off his skull last season.
Seager grounded out twice, though outfielder Leonys Martin sent a liner at Shoemaker in the second inning that the right-hander had to duck to avoid. The drive went off his glove and Shoemaker recovered to throw him out.
Sunday marked the team’s first walk-off win of the season. It was the sixth walk-off hit for Cliff Pennington. … The Angels have started the season 5-2 for the first time since 2007. They won 94 games that season and lost in a division playoff series to the Boston Red Sox. … Andrelton Simmons has hit in all seven games.