In the seventh inning Tuesday night at New York’s Citi Field, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols came to the plate finally knowing he would get a pitch to hit. Mets starting pitcher Livan Hernandez had filled the bases with Cardinals in a tense 1-0 game.
Albert shot a two-run single through the hole at shortstop, providing the final margin of victory of 3-0 in the series-tying contest. Livan had walked Albert intentionally in the third inning with two on and first base open. Hernandez had no such cushion this time and paid for it.
In this case with the full benefit of hindsight, the Mets would have caused less damage by intentionally walking Pujols again as it would have forced in only one run.
Pujols already has four multiple-intentional walk games this season and is on pace to receive over 50 intentional passes in 2009. That would shatter his top season to date and the Cardinals team record of 34 IBBs last year.
The Mets were not alone in making the mistake of pitching to Albert with the sacks jammed. Over the last year, in his ten most recent plate appearances with the bases loaded, Pujols is batting a perfect 1.000.
During this stretch, Albert has gone 8-for-8 with a whopping 26 RBI. This includes two sacrifice flies, two singles, two doubles and four (grand slam) home runs. Six of the ten times, Pujols hopped on the first pitch offered him.
Pujols’ ten most recent plate appearances with the bases loaded
|7/9/2008||@PHI||Chad Durbin||down||0||–||2||Out||t||7||123||1||0||–||0||1||1||Flyball: LF/Sacrifice Fly|
|7/19/2008||SDP||Randy Wolf||down||0||–||5||2B||b||5||123||1||0||–||0||1||3||Double to LF|
|8/6/2008||LAD||Derek Lowe||tied||3||–||3||HR||b||4||123||1||0||–||0||1||4||Home Run|
|8/22/2008||ATL||Charlie Morton||ahead||1||–||0||2B||b||2||123||1||1||–||1||3||2||Double to RF|
|4/11/2009||HOU||Roy Oswalt||ahead||2||–||0||HR||b||5||123||1||0||–||0||1||4||Home Run|
|4/14/2009||@ARI||Chad Qualls||down||5||–||6||1B||t||9||123||1||0||–||2||3||1||Single to RF|
|4/17/2009||@CHC||Carlos Zambrano||down||0||–||3||Out||t||3||123||1||0||–||1||2||1||Flyball: LF/Sacrifice Fly|
|4/25/2009||CHC||David Patton||ahead||3||–||1||HR||b||7||123||1||0||–||0||1||4||Home Run|
|6/21/2009||@KCR||Gil Meche||tied||4||–||4||HR||t||4||123||1||3||–||2||7||4||Home Run|
|6/23/2009||@NYM||Livan Hernandez||ahead||1||–||0||1B||t||7||123||1||0||–||0||1||2||Single to LF|
Details provided by Tom Orf.