Three home runs. Five hits. Six runs batted in.
Sounds like what a Major League Baseball team might do on a typical night.
But that’s what one guy — the St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols — did Saturday evening against the Texas Rangers in Game Three of the World Series. His heroics led the Cards to a 16-7 win and a two-games-to-one advantage in the best-of-7 fall classic.
Pujols’ performance was “the greatest night in World Series history,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said after the game. “And we saw it.”
How great was it?
Pujols “went five for six, … became only the third player in history to homer three times in a World Series game, joining Babe Ruth, who did it twice, and Reggie Jackson,” The Washington Post‘s Dave Sheinin writes. “His 14 total bases set a new World Series record, while his five hits and six RBI both tied records.”
Pujols’ performance “stands with the legends,” writes ESPN’s Jayson Stark. “And now, so does the man responsible for it. … We’re going to be seeing those three majestic swings he put on three defenseless baseballs Saturday night for the rest of our lives — on the flat screens in our living rooms, on the DVRs in our brains — because you should never be permitted to forget nights like this one. And our memory banks guarantee that you never will.”
“I didn’t walk into the ballpark today thinking that I was going to have a night like this,” Pujols said after the game. “I walked into the ballpark, like, with the attitude that I have every day, to help this ballclub win. And I was able to do that, defensively and offensively.
“Just pretty special, you know. But at the same time you need to enjoy this for a moment and be ready to play tomorrow.”
The only other players to collect six runs-batted-in during a single World Series game are Hideki Matsui of the Yankees (in 2009) and Bobby Richardson, also of the Yankees (in 1960). The only other player to get five hits in one game is Paul Molitor of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1982 (against the Cardinals).
MLB.com has video of Pujols’ three home runs here. NPR’s Mike Pesca is due on Weekend Edition Sunday later this morning to talk about Pujols and the game. The Cards and Rangers meet again tonight in Arlington, Texas. Game time is 8 p.m. ET. Fox is the TV broadcaster.
Here’s one for you trivia fans:
The three pitchers who Pujols victimized were Alexi Ogando, Michael Gonzalez and Darren Oliver.
MLB.com’s play-by-play recap is here.