PITTSBURGH — Albert Pujols hit his 697th home run, moving past Alex Rodriguez into fourth place on the career list and doing it in dramatic fashion with a ninth-inning drive that rallied the St. Louis Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 Sunday.
The NL Central-leading Cardinals trailed 2-1 when Pujols connected for a two-run drive. Pujols had tied Rodriguez with a home run Saturday night.
Pujols trails Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) on the all-time homer chart.
“When you keep focusing on the game, really good things happen. Finally, at the end of the game, we get that support and see (Albert) doing amazing things, hitting the ball to center field,” Cardinals starter Jose Quintana said. “It was an unbelievable moment.”
The 42-year-old Pujols has 21 games left in his 22nd and final season in the big leagues. He has hit 18 home runs this season.
“There’s impressive, and then there’s unbelievable,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “And what we’re witnessing right now is absolutely legendary.”
The Cardinals went to the ninth inning trailing 2-0 but scored four runs off Chase De Jong (4-2).
Tommy Edman and Corey Dickerson led off with back-to-back doubles to produce the first run. Pujols followed with his homer to put the Cardinals on top.
One out after Pujols connected, Tyler O’Neill hit a solo shot to cap St. Louis’ big inning.
De Jong entered the game with a 19-inning scoreless streak.
“We just have that confidence now to know that we can come back from any score,” Edman said. “We’ve shown that a few times in the past few weeks, and that’s the kind of offense we have.”
Greg Allen’s two-out home run in the bottom of the ninth drew the Pirates within 4-3. Ryan Helsley then got Ben Gamel to fly out for his 16th save.
Chris Stratton (8-4) retired both batters he faced.
The Cardinals had been shut out on three hits through the first eight innings but rallied for their eighth win in their past 11 games. The Pirates missed a chance to win their first series since sweeping Milwaukee from Aug. 2 to 4.
Edman had two hits to run his hitting streak to 13 games.
Mitch Keller pitched seven scoreless innings for the Pirates, allowing just two singles. He struck out six and walked three.
Quintana pitched one-run ball over 5 1/3 innings. It was his first start against the Pirates since they traded him to St. Louis on Aug. 1.
Rookie Jack Suwinski homered in the seventh to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Oneil Cruz drove in the game’s first run with a grounder in the third.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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