7:08 PM ET, April 18, 2014
Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
DETROIT -- Albert Pujols is quietly closing in on 500 home runs.Pujols hit No. 497 on Friday night, part of an offensive onslaught by the Los Angeles Angels in their 11-6 victory over the Detroit Tigers. Howie Kendrick added two homers of his own, and 10 of Los Angeles' 13 hits went for extra bases.Afterward, Pujols demurred when asked about the milestone he's approaching."I don't want to talk about that. Thank you," Pujols said.The slugging first baseman was willing to discuss another powerful performance by the Angels, who entered the day with a major league-leading 24 homers and hit three more against the Tigers. Los Angeles is without outfielder Josh Hamilton, who had surgery last week on his injured thumb."Obviously, we miss Josh, and he's a power boost to the ballclub," Pujols said. "But our job is to hopefully do whatever it takes to be in first place by the time we get Josh back."The Angels chased Detroit starter Drew Smyly (1-1) after three innings and then added seven runs off reliever Luke Putkonen.Kendrick hit two-run homers in the third and fourth, and Pujols lined a three-run shot to left field in the sixth to give the Angels an 11-1 lead.Jered Weaver (1-2) allowed a run and three hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out three.The Angels have won 10 straight against the Tigers, the longest active streak in the majors by one team over another.Kendrick and Ian Stewart both had three hits for the Angels, with Stewart falling a homer shy of the cycle. Mike Trout doubled twice.Smyly allowed four runs and six hits in his first start since 2012. The Angels scored two runs each in the second and third, then broke the game open with four off Putkonen in the fourth.After excelling in the bullpen in 2013, Smyly is going to start for the Tigers this season, but his first two appearances of the year came in relief because Detroit didn't need a fifth starter yet.His first chance to start went badly. Smyly needed 82 pitches to get through three innings."I felt pretty good, I just couldn't put anyone away," Smyly said. "Any time I'd get ahead of someone, they would keep fouling off pitches and working the count, and then they'd find something they could hit. That's a really good lineup, and they hammered everything I left over the plate."With the Angels already ahead 2-0, Pujols led off the third with a double and Kendrick followed with his first homer of the night. Putkonen came on the following inning and couldn't quiet the Los Angeles bats.After a two-run double by Trout made it 6-1, Kendrick hit a two-out drive to right-center that was ruled a homer after a review. The ball appeared to glance off a rail above the wall.Pujols hit his fifth homer of the year to move one swing closer to the 500-homer club. After a disappointing, injury-plagued 2013, the Los Angeles first baseman may be rediscovering his slugging form.If the Tigers had been able to keep their deficit manageable, their five-run rally in the seventh would have been a lot more significant. Josh Wall, called up from the minors before the game, relieved Weaver in the seventh and allowed five runs on four hits and a walk -- without retiring a batter.Ian Kinsler's two-run single highlighted that rally, but second baseman John McDonald made a spectacular play to retire Victor Martinez, ranging to his left to make a sprawling stop, then rolling and throwing to first from his back. Alex Avila grounded out with runners on second and third to end the inning with the Angels still up by five.With runners at first and second for Detroit and one out in the ninth, McDonald ended the game with a heads-up play. Don Kelly hit a soft flare toward the second baseman, and with the runners having to freeze, McDonald let the ball drop, tagged second for a force and then ran over and tagged Martinez between second and third for an unassisted double play.It ended up being a fairly easy victory for the Angels after four of their previous six games went to extra innings."We've been swinging the bats well," Kendrick said. "Obviously, we've been putting up runs, and we've had quite a few tough games."Kinsler had three hits for the Tigers.
Detroit RHP Justin Miller, called up before the game, pitched two scoreless innings in his major league debut. ... The Tigers haven't beaten the Angels since Aug. 26, 2012. ... Detroit RHP Max Scherzer (0-1) faces LHP C.J. Wilson (2-1) on Saturday.
DETROIT, MI - APRIL 18: Jered Weaver #36 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches in the first inning of the...(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Regular Season Series
|2nd||J Shuck grounded into fielder's choice to second, C Iannetta scored, E Aybar out at second.||1||0|
|2nd||I Stewart tripled to deep right center, J Shuck scored.||2||0|
|3rd||H Kendrick homered to right (366 feet), A Pujols scored.||4||0|
|3rd||T Hunter singled to center, R Davis scored.||4||1|
|4th||M Trout doubled to deep left, I Stewart and C Cowgill scored.||6||1|
|4th||H Kendrick homered to right (385 feet), M Trout scored.||8||1|
|6th||A Pujols homered to left (371 feet), C Cowgill and M Trout scored.||11||1|
|7th||I Kinsler singled to deep right, A Avila and A Romine scored, R Davis to third.||11||3|
|7th||N Castellanos singled to left, R Davis scored, I Kinsler to third, N Castellanos to second advancing on throw.||11||4|
|7th||M Cabrera grounded out to shortstop, I Kinsler scored, N Castellanos to third.||11||5|
|7th||V Martinez grounded out to second, N Castellanos scored.||11||6|
|View complete Play-By-Play|
|Stadium||Comerica Park, Detroit, MI|
|Attendance||28,435 (68.9% full) - % is based on regular season capacity|
|Weather||55 degrees, clear|
|Umpires||Home Plate - Gerry Davis, First Base - Phil Cuzzi, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Quinn Wolcott|
The Angels hit 3 home runs today, bringing their season total to 27, the most they've hit in their 1st 16 games in franchise history. The last 2 time they hit at least 24 HR in their 1st 16 games, they had at least 88 wins and made the postseason.[+]
- Most HR in 1st 16 Games
Howie Kendrick hit his 1st HR of the year, an opposite field shot off of Drew Smyly in the 3rd. He now has 5 opposite field HR since the start of last season, tied with Robinson Cano for 2nd most among 2nd baseman.[+]
Albert Pujols has more HR (5) than strikeouts (4) this season.
Albert Pujols' 5 HR this season are already more than he had in his first two April's combined with the Angels.
ESPN Stats & Information