Pujols Ηits Slam for 600th HR, Leads Angels Past Twins 7-2

first_imgANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Albert Pujols checked his phone between innings and saw a text from his wife in the stands. Deidre Pujols bluntly told him to stop pressing so hard for his 600th homer.Although the Los Angeles Angels slugger isn’t strictly supposed to be using his phone during games, that message was exactly what Pujols needed to hear in order to reach the next milestone in a remarkable career.Pujols hit a grand slam in the fourth inning Saturday night, becoming the ninth member of the 600-homer club during the Angels’ 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.After three straight homerless games since hitting No. 599, Pujols reached the mark in theatrical style, putting a low pitch from Ervin Santana (7-3) high down the left-field line and into Angel Stadium’s short 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 paused at the dugout steps to wave to the crowd — and to plant a kiss on Deidre, who had given him the same message Friday night.“I’m glad I listen to her one in a while,” Pujols said with a smile. “At a moment like this, I always start putting pressure on myself. Usually she’ll give me some encouragement. It was just a perfect time to check my phone, and I’m glad I did.”Pujols staked the Angels to a 7-1 lead with his ninth homer this season. He became the fourth youngest 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 year 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.“I mean, I’m not the only one, you know?” Santana said. “I’m probably No. 599 of the 600 club. I’m happy for him. I’m glad he got it done.”Actually, Santana is one of 386 pitches to give up a homer to Pujols, who has homered against all 30 teams and in 37 ballparks.Andrelton Simmons and Kole Calhoun hit back-to-back homers in the third inning for the Angels.Max Kepler homered for Minnesota.BIG SHOEMatt Shoemaker (5-3) pitched five-hit ball into the seventh inning for his fourth victory in his last five starts. 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 got it done.“Albert chasing history, I think that we can all appreciate that,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. “A little tough to applaud when it’s a grand slam that kind of puts you down by six, but give him credit.”NICE CATCHThe homer was caught on the fly by Scott Steffel, a 23-year-old graphic designer and die-hard Angels fan who had been coming to games with his father and brother all week since seeing Pujols’ 599th homer. Steffel presented the ball to Pujols on the field after the game.NOT SMOOTHSantana dropped to 1-3 in four career starts against the franchise that signed him in 2000 and employed him for 13 years. He still ranks fifth in Angels history with 223 games started and seventh with 96 victories.TROUT OUTMike 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.”TRAINER’S ROOMAngels: 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.UP NEXTTwins: 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.By GREG BEACHAMTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Neymar smart to protect himself from injury- Klopp

first_imgLiverpool, Sept 18 (AFP) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp defended Neymar’s play-acting at the World Cup and believes it will be impossible to completely snuff out the Brazilian’s threat when Paris Saint-Germain visit Anfield in the Champions League on Tuesday. Klopp insisted Neymar wasn’t fully fit in Russia after breaking a bone in his foot in February that forced him to miss the rest of the club season with the French giants before the World Cup. However, the world’s most expensive player earned few plaudits for his performances and became a figure of fun for his constant feigning of injury as Brazil crashed out at the quarter-finals to Belgium. “When I saw a few games at the World Cup and I know people are talking about that and it looked like he made a bit more of situations. But it’s a normal reaction because players are going for him, that’s the truth, and he wants to protect himself. I understand that,” said Klopp on Monday. “I’m not sure it’s possible to avoid his quality 100 percent. He’s a fantastic footballer, outstanding.” “He was not fit at the World Cup and he tried to take the responsibility for his country. Belgium played an outstanding game against Brazil, but if Neymar is fit, Brazil wins it. That’s how it is. “He was injured and so he had to save himself a bit. He’s not a person who wants to act because if you are like that you cannot play football. “He got rested at the weekend so he will be 100 percent fresh, he’s not injured any more. We will see the full package Neymar.”advertisement – Tuchel ‘one of the best’ -============================ Despite splashing over 400 million euros on Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, PSG failed to progress beyond the last 16 in their quest to win a first ever Champions League. But Klopp, who led Liverpool to the final in May, believes marrying a richly talented squad with new coach Thomas Tuchel makes the French giants an even bigger threat to win the competition this season. “The players they have, the manager they have, they all brought it together to go as far as possible in the Champions League,” he added. “He is an outstanding coach. I really thought it was a smart decision of PSG to sign Tuchel,” said Klopp. “For this kind of team with unbelievable individual quality, you still need a manager who can teach or educate them in playing together and they brought in one of the best I know. That makes them quite a big challenge for us.” However, in contrast to the five-time winners’ storied history in the competition, PSG have never in their history even made the final of the European Cup. And Tuchel believes they can only still be considered challengers to Europe’s elite rather than one of the favourites for the competition. “Sometimes you need a special victory to gain special confidence to go far in a competition. In sport, if you want to go all the way, sometimes you have to have the experience that you can do something exceptional,” he said of the prospect of winning at fortress Anfield. “This makes the challenge even greater. Liverpool have won five Champions Leagues. “This club has great experience, particularly in this stadium. We are working towards that but it is no big deal. “We are still a challenger in the Champions League, not yet a favorite.” (AFP) ATKATKlast_img read more