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
Here are the individual summaries of Pujols’ triples.
|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|
|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
Finally, here are the Cardinals’ single-season leaders in triples this decade.
As always, there would be no data if Tom Orf hadn’t served it up.