ALBERT PUJOLS hits HR No. 698 – Jameel Attari

ALBERT Pujols hits HR No. 698

Continuing to hit home runs with great meaning -- both in terms of historical significance and to the Cardinals' chances of landing a top playoff seed

Albert Pujols hit the 698th home run of his career Friday against the Reds.

With the Cardinals trailing by two runs in the sixth inning, Pujols hit a hanging slider from Raynel Espinal a Statcast-projected 427 feet to tie the game at 4.

The blast, which left his bat at 106.3 mph, pulled the slugger within two home runs of 700.

Only three players in AL/NL history have hit 700 home runs -- Barry Bonds

Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth -- and Pujols is making a charge to join them before he retires at the end of this season.

The Cardinals have 17 games remaining after the 6-5 win at Busch Stadium for Pujols to try to hit at least two more home runs.

At the end of the day, it’s just about whatever you can do to help this ballclub,” Pujols said

“Obviously, when they come in a big situation like this it’s awesome. We’re pushing to try and win the division, and this is what we need.”

Prior to Friday’s game, Pujols played catch with former Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández

Fernández, who was a guest of Pujols’ at the game, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

He told Pujols that if he hit two home runs Friday, he might have to cancel his business trip to New York the next day.

“I can feel that energy, and when I’m going out there and performing, I’m going out there to represent God, this organization and also my country,” said Pujols

who has hit 62 homers off the Astros, 59 off the Cubs, 54 against the Pirates and 49 against the Reds. “I want to make my country proud every single day that I step onto that field.”

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