Chasing 700 and a championship: Pujols hits HR No. 698


Continuing to hit home runs with great meaning -- both in terms of historical significance and to the Cardinals' chances of landing a top playoff seed --


Albert Pujols hit the 698th home run of his career Friday against the Reds.

With the Cardinals trailing by two runs in the sixth inning, Pujols hit a hanging slider from Raynel Espinal a Statcast-projected 427 feet to tie the game at 4.

The blast, which left his bat at 106.3 mph, pulled the slugger within two home runs of 700.

Only three players in AL/NL history have hit 700 home runs -- Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth --

and Pujols is making a charge to join them before he retires at the end of this season.

The Cardinals have 17 games remaining after the 6-5 win at Busch Stadium for Pujols to try to hit at least two more home runs.

“At the end of the day, it’s just about whatever you can do to help this ballclub,” Pujols said.

“Obviously, when they come in a big situation like this it’s awesome. We’re pushing to try and win the division, and this is what we need.”

Five of Pujols’ past six home runs have either tied the game or given the Cardinals the lead.

“I like when he homers then,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol joked. “That was a big swing.

He continues to do it in meaningful situations, and that’s what matters.

It would be one thing if he was just chasing [700], but he’s taking an unbelievable approach and then delivering when we need it most.

 Is he chasing 700? Yes, but he’s chasing a championship more than that.”

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