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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Pujols’ Friday Rarity


St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols was on base four times against the Chicago Cubs on Friday. His damage was caused via a pair of walks, one clearly intentional, a double that was played into a triple by Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano and Pujols’ world-leading 32nd home run of the season.

Not only is Pujols leading the Majors in home runs, his total is 33% higher than the next closest players, San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez and Mark Reynolds of Arizona. Pujols has been on base four or more times in a game an amazing 96 times in his career. He has already picked up 32 intentional walks this season.

Old hat stuff.

The rarest play of them all, the triple, is what intrigued me. It was Albert’s first three-bagger in almost two years.

Over his 8-1/2 year MLB career, it was just Pujols’ 14th three-base hit, a play that usually depends more on speed than on baserunning aggressiveness. Pujols has plenty of the latter, but much less of the former.

Looking at his triples output by season, one can see the dropoff.

Pujols’ triples by season

2001 4
2002 2
2003 1
2004 2
2005 2
2006 1
2007 1
2008 0
2009 1
Career 14

Here are the individual summaries of Pujols’ triples.

Date Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB Out RBI
4/26/2001 MON Tony Armas down 2-3 b 5 2 0
6/20/2001 CHC Julian Tavarez down 1-3 b 6 0 0
8/3/2001-2 FLA Jesus Sanchez down 1-4 b 6 0 0
10/3/2001 @MIL Jamey Wright tied 0-0 t 1 -2- 2 1
7/30/2002 @FLA Vic Darensbourg ahead 3-0 t 8 1 0
8/2/2002 @ATL Kerry Ligtenberg down 2-10 t 7 1-3 1 2
8/15/2003 @PHI Terry Adams down 4-7 t 7 1 0
8/29/2004 @PIT Oliver Perez tied 0-0 t 3 1– 1 1
9/2/2004 SDP Blaine Neal ahead 5-2 b 7 2 0
7/28/2005 @SDP Clay Hensley ahead 7-3 t 6 1– 0 1
8/31/2005 @FLA Jason Vargas ahead 3-0 t 5 1– 0 1
7/9/2006 @HOU Chad Qualls tied 5-5 t10 1 0
9/8/2007 @ARI Micah Owings down 0-3 t 3 1-3 2 2

Having the triple and home run in the same game is even rarer. Despite slamming 351 career home runs, Pujols has put the two together in a single contest only twice. Oddly, they occurred over a four-game span in 2004 and the triples were his only two that year.

Pujols triple and home run in same game

Date Tm Opp G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO
9/2/2004 STL SDP W 7 - 2 4 4 2 4 0 1 1 2 0 0 0
8/29/2004 STL @PIT W 4 - 0 4 4 2 2 0 1 1 2 0 0 0

Finally, here are the Cardinals’ single-season leaders in triples this decade.

Rank Player 3B Year Age
1 Fernando Vina 8 2001 32
2 David Eckstein 7 2005 30
3 Fernando Vina 6 2000 31
T4 Skip Schumaker 5 2008 28
T4 Aaron Miles 5 2006 29
T4 Juan Encarnacion 5 2006 30
T4 Bo Hart 5 2003 26
T4 Fernando Vina 5 2002 33
T4 J.D. Drew 5 2001 25
T10 Joe Thurston 4 2009 29
T10 Adam Kennedy 4 2008 32
T10 Scott Spiezio 4 2006 33
T10 Scott Rolen 4 2004 29
T10 Fernando Vina 4 2003 34
T10 Scott Rolen 4 2002 27
T10 Kerry Robinson 4 2002 28
T10 Placido Polanco 4 2001 25
T10 Albert Pujols 4 2001 21

As always, there would be no data if Tom Orf hadn’t served it up.

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