Albert Pujols circled the bases without showing much emotion after hitting his long-awaited first home run for the Los Angeles Angels — same as he did 445 times with the St. Louis Cardinals.
But when he returned to the dugout, he had it all to himself. There was nobody home. No players, no coaches, no batboys.
Pujols’ teammates gave him the ol’ silent treatment, a plot hatched by Torii Hunter. They were all waiting for the slugger in the tunnel leading to the clubhouse. Then, a burst of euphoria and they were all back on the bench, high-fiving and slapping him all over his body.
The reception in Anaheim, Calif., was fun for just about everyone after Pujols’ two-run shot, which helped the Angels beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3, Sunday to gain a split of the four-game series.
“I thought that would be cool. I always wanted to do that, and it worked,” Hunter said.
Pujols connected in the fifth inning for his first American League homer. The three-time National League MVP had gone 33 games and 139 at-bats dating to last year without a home run in the regular season.
“I don’t think anything’s been lifted off my shoulders, man,” said Pujols, who did not come out for a curtain call. “… I come out here every day and try to get myself ready for the game and give 110 percent to this team and to this organization. And if I do that, there’s nothing to be sorry about.”
Pujols drove a 2-2 pitch from right-hander Drew Hutchison (1-1) into the left-field bullpen. Mike Trout doubled one out before the home run, and Hutchison and catcher J.P. Arencibia had a conference on the mound right before the pitch to Pujols.
“I didn’t think about what they were going to throw me. I see the ball and hit it,” Pujols said. “I’ve been doing that since I’ve played this game. This game is not about guessing, it’s about making adjustments.”
Pujols homered in his 28th game and 111th at-bat with the Angels, who signed him to a 10-year, $240 million contract as a free agent in December. This was his first home run at Angel Stadium, the 31st big league ballpark in which he’s hit one.
TWINS MAKE CALL
The slumping Twins are calling up prized infield prospect Brian Dozier and left-hander Scott Diamond from the minors.
The team announced that Dozier will take the spot of slugger Justin Morneau, who will be placed on the disabled list with a sore right wrist.
Dozier is expected to become the Twins’ full-time shortstop. He was hitting .276 with one homer and seven doubles in 28 games for Triple-A Rochester. The Twins are expected to move current shortstop Jamey Carroll into a utility role.
Diamond is 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA in six starts for Rochester.
Andy Pettitte hardly looked ready for the majors in the first Triple-A start of his comeback. Pettitte pitched five shaky innings and took the loss as the Yankees’ top affiliate fell to Pawtucket, 7-5. … The Rockies say a 20-year-old female fan who was hit by a foul ball this weekend at Coors Field and taken out of the stands on a stretcher is OK.