Albert Pujols is on the brink of history.
In Thursday night's 12-3 victory over the Orioles at Angel Stadium, Pujols lined a two-run double to left field off right-hander Miguel Castro for his 2,999th career hit, extending the Angels' lead to 8-0 in the second inning. Pujols went hitless in his next three plate appearances, shifting his march to 3,000 to Seattle, where the Angels will open a three-game series Friday night.
"One of these days we're all going to celebrate it," Pujols said. "It just didn't happen here tonight."
Pujols, 38, is one hit away from becoming the 32nd player to reach 3,000 career hits. He would be only the second Dominican-born player to accomplish the feat, after Adrian Beltre. He is vying to become only the fourth player to collect 3,000 hits and 600 home runs, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez.
With his 3,000th hit, Pujols would move into a tie with Roberto Clemente for 31st on the all-time list.
On Friday night, Pujols will face Mariners right-hander Mike Leake. The Angels slugger is 4-for-11 with an RBI and two walks in his career against the righty.
Pujols entered Thursday with 2,998 hits and grounded out in his first at-bat against Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman in the first inning. Facing Castro again in the fourth with the crowd of 35,879 on its feet, Pujols fouled off five straight pitches before taking a changeup off his left hip on a 2-2 count. He jogged to first without incident. Facing right-hander Mychal Givens in the sixth, he popped out to first base.
Pujols had one more chance in the eighth inning against side-arming right-hander Darren O'Day, but he flied out to right field, much to the disappointment of the home crowd. With the Angels' next five games in Seattle and Colorado, hit No. 3,000 will likely come on the road.
"I think they are aware of the history that is about to happen," Pujols said of the fans. "Unfortunately, it didn't happen tonight. It didn't happen this week. I had some opportunities to make it happen here. At the end of the day, it is not about me. It's whenever the Lord wants. His time is perfect. Mine is not."