Albert Pujols belts a two-run home run against the Texas Rangers. (Layne Murdoch / Getty Images )
ARLINGTON, Texas — Albert Pujols, given a start at designated hitter to ease the stress on his sore left foot, led a 12-hit attack with his 45th multi-home run game, ripping a two-run shot to center field in the first inning and a solo shot to left in the sixth to lead the Angels to an 8-4 victory over the Texas Rangers.
Pujols' 476th and 477th home runs moved him past Stan Musial and Willie Stargell and into 28th place all-time.
Mark Trumbo capped a four-run first inning with a two-run home run to right field, his first this season, and Peter Bourjos led off the sixth with a home run to left-center field, his first this year.
While an offense that had a .219 average and 13 runs in the first four games enjoyed a break-out afternoon, it was another dismal day for clean-up batter Josh Hamilton, who three times failed to make the Rangers pay for intentionally walking Pujols.
Hamilton struck out swinging on three pitches in the second and fourth innings and flied out to left in the sixth.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, before Saturday there had been only six situations in which the hitters in front of Hamilton, the former Rangers slugger, were walked intentionally, the last coming June 20, 2010, when the Houston Astros put Vladimir Guerrero on to pitch to Hamilton.
It happened three times Saturday and marked only the second time in Pujols’ illustrious career — the last Aug. 26, 2010, at Washington — that he was intentionally walked three times in a game.
Hamilton, who was booed unmercifully for the second straight day, walked and scored on Trumbo’s home run in the first, was hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts and is hitting .050 (one for 20) with 10 strikeouts.
Tommy Hanson, making his Angels debut after November’s trade from Atlanta, gave up three runs and six hits, including home runs by Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler in the third, in six innings, an extremely effective performance considering the strong winds that aided many fly balls.
Hanson struck out four and walked none. Sean Burnett struck out two in a scoreless seventh, Kevin Jepsen gave up one hit in a scoreless eighth, and Ernesto Frieri gave up a home run to Nelson Cruz in the ninth.
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