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Pujols passes Yaz, follows up with walk-off
Slugger now 11th all-time in RBIs; drives winning 1B in 11th
By Kaelen Jones
ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols continued his ascent up Major League Baseball's all-time RBI list on Tuesday night, driving in three runs, including a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Angels a 7-6 win over the White Sox at Angel Stadium.
"As soon as I hit the ball, I knew the game was over," Pujols said. "I just did my job. I put a good swing [on it], and that's all I could do."
In the bottom of the third, Pujols slapped a first-pitch sinker off Derek Holland down the third-base line to push the Angels ahead, 2-0. With the hit, his career RBI total increased to 1,846, breaking his tie with Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski and giving him sole possession of 11th on the all-time list, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Because RBIs became an official Major League statistic in 1920, Elias' tally begins at that date. Due to the uncertain nature of record keeping in the early part of the 20th century, some discrepancies may exist between the stats provided today by different historical data providers.
MLB.com utilizes different statistics than Elias. By MLB.com's count, Pujols sits in 13th, also behind Cap Anson and Ty Cobb, whose RBIs were not official at the time and have been excluded by Elias.
He skied a knuckle-curve off White Sox closer David Robertson into center field for a walk-off single, bringing his RBI total to 1,847.
"Sometimes you're gonna come through, sometimes you don't," said the 17-year-veteran. "You just need to flip the page and know that you'll get other opportunities. I've been in the situation many times, so I know how to handle the situation. Am I gonna come through every time? That's impossible, nobody can do that. But if I get some opportunities out there, whatever I can do, just put my best swing. I feel comfortable in those situations. I feel like I don't need to do too much."
After going 2-for-5 on Tuesday, the 37-year-old Pujols raised his batting average to .238 to go with five home runs and 30 RBIs for the season. He will need to tally 14 RBIs to usurp the next man on the list, Hall of Famer Mel Ott, who drove in 1,860 runs during his career.
Pujols came close to homering during a couple of at-bats Tuesday, but came up empty. He remains four home runs shy of 600.
"All I need is one so I don't lose the focus," Pujols said. "All I need is one good swing."
Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.