ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Albert Pujols hit a grand slam for his 600th homer, becoming the ninth member of the club during the fourth inning of the Los Angeles Angels’ 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.
Pujols reached the milestone in theatrical style, putting a low pitch from Ervin Santana (7-3) into Angel Stadium’s short left-field porch for his 14th grand slam.
The Anaheim crowd roared while fireworks soared overhead for the 37-year-old’s ninth homer of the season and his 155th for the Angels. Pujols moved to the West Coast nearly six years ago after 11 spectacular seasons in St. Louis.
Andrelton Simmons and Kole Calhoun hit back-to-back homers in the third inning for the Angels.
Max Kepler homered for Minnesota.
Matt Shoemaker (5-3) pitched five-hit ball into the seventh inning for his fourth victory in his last five starts.
Pujols staked the Angels to a 7-1 lead with his ninth homer this season. After going three straight games without a homer since hitting No. 599 on Tuesday, Pujols became the fourth-youngest player to reach the 600-homer club — and the first to join it with a slam.
Santana had yielded just one earned run in 29 innings on the road this season before struggling at Angel Stadium, where he was Pujols’ teammate during the 2012 season after the slugger signed as a free agent and before Santana was traded to Kansas City.
Santana dropped to 1-3 in his four career starts against the franchise that signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2000 and employed him for 13 years. He still ranks fifth in Angels history with 223 games started and seventh with 96 victories.
After Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Kepler’s RBI single, Shoemaker found his groove and largely limited the Minnesota lineup that scored 11 runs on Friday.
The Angels went ahead in the third when Simmons delivered a two-run shot to left for his sixth homer and Calhoun added a shot to right for his eighth. Pujols came up next with a chance to give the Angels back-to-back-to-back homers — but he struck out on three pitches.
An inning later, Pujols made history.
Mike Trout will get the cast off of his left hand Sunday, and he begins rehabilitation Monday on his injured left thumb. He’s still expected to be out for at least five more weeks, and he says he won’t stop sliding headfirst after injuring himself doing just that in Miami. “I just think I have to have more control when I dive headfirst,” Trout said. “They say (feet-first) doesn’t slow you down, but it feels like it slows you down.”
Angels: OF Cameron Maybin hasn’t swung the bat since going on the disabled list with a bruised side muscle. Manager Mike Scioscia isn’t sure whether Maybin will be ready to return on Friday as previously hoped. … Reliever Cam Bedrosian (groin) had a solid rehab appearance and could be ready to return Tuesday.
Twins: Right-handed 22-year-old Jose Berrios (3-1, 2.70 ERA) makes his fifth start of the season in the series finale.
Angels: Ricky Nolasco (2-5, 5.07 ERA) faces the Twins for the first time since they traded him and Alex Meyer to Los Angeles at the 2016 trade deadline. Nolasco and Meyer are both in the Angels’ rotation.