After more than a decade in the majors in which he’s long been considered one of baseball’s all-time greats, it isn’t easy for Albert Pujols to do something surprising. He managed it in dramatic fashion on baseball’s biggest stage Saturday.
The St. Louis Cardinals slugger had a historic performance, with five hits, six RBIs and three home runs -- something no player’s ever done in a World Series -- in the Cards’ 14-7 slaughter of the Texas Rangers in Game 3. He joined Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth as the only players to ever hit three home runs in a World Series game, and is the only National League player to ever do it.
“Has somebody had a better day than this, ever, in a World Series?” Manager Tony La Russa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the game. “I don't want to disrespect Babe Ruth or Reggie, but he had five hits. More total bases. I'd say it's the best."
As always, Pujols downplayed his heroics.
"Those guys are great players," Pujols said to MLB.com, "and to do it at that level and on this stage is amazing. But ... at the same time, I didn't walk into the ballpark today thinking that I was going to have a night like this. I walked to the ballpark with the attitude that I have every day -- to help this ballclub to win, and I was able to do that, defensively and offensively."
"It's Albert. Big pressure, big big moment,” Cards pitcher Chris Carpenter told the media. “He's at his best. I've seen it before."
Carpenter may have come to expect such greatness from his teammate, but there’s no doubt that what Pujols did Saturday was a special feat.
“It was fun to watch him do what he did tonight and just to be a teammate of his when he did something like that,” pitcher Lance Lynn said. “That's something I can tell my kids and grandkids one day -- that I actually witnessed that in person."