Albert Pujols met Hall of Famer Stan Musial during his time with the St. Louis Cardinals and grew to appreciate Musial and his legacy.
For now, the pair is sharing a place in baseball’s record books.
Pujols hit his 623rd career homer and tied Musial for seventh on the career RBI list with 1,951, helping the Los Angeles Angels beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 after a four-hour rain delay Saturday.
Pujols’ solo home run in the sixth proved to be the difference as Tyler Skaggs (5-4) allowed one run in seven innings and matched a season best with eight strikeouts.
The team announced Pujols is sending the ball he hit, his jersey and bat from Saturday’s game to the family of Musial, who died in 2013.
“I know those two had a chance to spend a lot of time together when he was in St. Louis and he respects him, respects his legacy tremendously,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “For him to be in the same sentence with Stan Musial I know is a nice feeling for Albert.”
Ian Kinsler had a solo home run, his sixth in the past 11 games, for the Angels. Blake Parker recorded his seventh save as Los Angeles won for the seventh time in its past eight games.
Kyle Gibson (1-4) allowed both home runs before completing seven innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out five batters as Minnesota fell to 3-13 in one-run games.
Gibson threw a career-high 118 pitches. He’s posted six consecutive quality starts without a win.
“Offensively when you’re struggling, it’s just tough,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Especially not taking advantage of some of these really good starts that we’ve been getting.”
The four-hour rain delay is the second longest in Target Field history behind a 4:50 delay last June against the Chicago White Sox.
Pujols struck in the sixth with a towering homer to the second deck in left field.
“They were really spitting out some sliders and some good fastballs away and, unfortunately I just made the wrong pitch at the wrong time, and Albert did what Albert does,” Gibson said. “He did a really good job on that pitch.”
Pujols added a single in the eighth for his 3,027th career hit, which ranks 27th on the career list. He’s seventh on the home run list, seven behind Ken Griffey Jr., and his RBI total is 44 behind Lou Gehrig for sixth.
“The names that are thrown up next to his are names that all baseball fans know and some are names that just people know,” Kinsler said. “He’s passing, I guess you could call them, legends. It’s a lot of fun to watch.”