Albert Pujols hit a pair of home runs and then witnessed catcher Yadier Molina’s first performance as a pitcher, completing the 18-4 blowout that Luis’s Cardinals dealt the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.
Molina gave up a pair of homers and four runs in the ninth inning, eventually closing out St. Louis’ three-game sweep.
But it wasn’t all joy for the Cardinals. Their starter Steven Matz threw just four pitches before being pulled with a stiff left shoulder.
Pujols had a career-high 683 home runs. Pinch-hitting for Nolan Arenado and St. Louis leading 11-0 in the fifth inning, El Dominican hit a drive that flew 425 feet into left field.
The 42-year-old slugger added a three-run homer in the ninth off Pirates infielder Josh VanMeter. Pujols is fifth on the all-time home run list, 13 behind Alex Rodriguez.
Exactly one week after Pujols took the mound for the first time in his major league career, Molina had his turn with St. Louis leading 18-9. Pujols got behind the plate when his old teammate warmed up between innings.
A Gold Glove winner and multiple All-Star catcher, the 39-year-old Puerto Rican didn’t fare so well on the mound. He allowed a solo shot to Yoshi Tsutsugo and then a three-run shot to Jack Suwinski. He ended up getting four hits in his working inning, throwing for strikes on 14 of his 20 pitches, with no strikeout or walk. Pujols also gave up four runs and two homers in one inning during a blowout against San Francisco the previous Sunday.
For the Cardinals, Pujols 3-2, two runs scored and four RBIs. Panamanian Edmundo Sosa 5-2, two runs scored and one RBI. Venezuelan Juan Yepez 5-1, two runs scored and one produced.
For the Pirates, the Venezuelan Diego Castillo 4-1. The Dominican Rodolfo Castro 4-1, one scored.