Albert Pujols ended his farewell season with one last home run in what has been a difficult season. The number three hit was worth much more than the final run.
The Dodgers won the series opener at Busch Stadium on Saturday night. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw set a career high in strikeouts with 127, but came into the night’s game with an 8.57 ERA. He did not throw a wild pitch in the game, nor did he allow a hit.
Check out our comments from those watch-over at-bats from both Albert Pujols and Clayton Kershaw.
It’s not just that Pujols did not allow a hit for the Dodgers — no one in the stadium did — but it’s the story that followed after he walked to the dugout for his final at-bat.
Kershaw hadn’t issued a walk in August or September of any other time in his career. He’s 3-4 in that span, yet he still had the lead in the series with a respectable 2.57 ERA.
But Pujols did his part, though less in a two-run homer to left in the first inning. A first-inning walk seemed to be enough to beat him.
But Pujols didn’t stop there. He hit a grand slam in the fourth inning to get the crowd going.
This is all to say that the Cardinals should hope that Pujols brings it on the road trip from Southern California. The team has struggled on the road all season, dropping to 1-5. With David Freese on the DL, and Lance Lynn on the disabled list, there’s little room for error with the home schedule. It’s more than just an opportunity for him to hit home runs and improve on his 99 RBIs on the season.
It’s also something for which the Cardinals have had a difficult time throughout the season, and they’ll have to perform to maintain their slim chance at a playoff spot.