St. Louis Cardinals fans would probably rather forget Wednesday afternoon’s collapse at New York’s Citi Field as the Mets shut out the visitors by a 9-0 score.
Still, there was at least one positive to come out of the game. After hitting a double and two home runs on Tuesday night, Albert Pujols came back strongly on Wednesday, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that his recent slump is totally behind him.
Albert stroked a pair of doubles in three official at-bats Wednesday, both to left field. The first was hit so hard that despite running at full speed, Pujols barely made it into second base before the throw. (He also reached base a third time when hit by a pitch.)
The two Mets contests became Pujols’ 13th and 14th multiple extra-base hit games this season. In the process, he extended his 2009 Major League Baseball lead in the category over Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder and the Dodgers’ Andre Ethier, both with 11.
Multiple extra-base hit games – 2009 MLB
The best season of such games by a Cardinal player since at least 1954 was set at 19 by Pujols in 2004 and tied by him again just two years later. In fact, Pujols has registered seven of the top 15 seasons with multiple extra-base hit games by a Cardinal over at least the last 55 years.
Considering the quality of hitters that have donned the birds on the bat uniform back to and including the second half of Hall of Famer Stan Musial’s career makes Albert’s feats even more impressive.
Multiple extra-base hit games, season – Cardinals (1954-2009)
Given the high number of top individual seasons already put into the record books by Pujols means it is not surprising that he leads the Cardinals in such career games in at least the last 55 years. Albert’s total of 126 games is a whopping 40 percent higher than accumulated the closest player, Ray Lankford.
Multiple extra-base hit games, career – Cardinals (1954-2009)
Here in 2009, Pujols still has roughly a third of the season, 52 games remaining, to build onto his total. If able to maintain his pace the rest of the way, Albert would end with 21 multiple-extra base hit games. That would vault him to the top with the best season in the category by any Cardinal in at least the last 55 years.
Extra innings coverage – Pujols also leads in five-or-more RBI games
Pujols’ five-RBI outing on Tuesday night was his fourth of the 2009 season. That is the most such games in a single season by a Cardinal since at least 1954. In doing so, he broke a tie with himself in 2006 and 2007, Mark McGwire in 1999 and an unlikely name, Joe Hague, in 1970.
Five-or-more RBI games, season – Cardinals (1954-2009)
Pujols has now doubled up Big Mac for the most five-or-more RBI games in his Cardinals career with 16.
Five-or-more RBI games, career – Cardinals (1954-2009)
Thanks to Tom Orf for the data tables.