The Los Angeles Angels put Albert Pujols’ Major League Baseball career in jeopardy last week when they released him. It was unclear if the 41-year-old would land with another team, and then the Los Angeles Dodgers signed him to a one-year deal.
One week later, Pujols hit his first career home run with the Dodgers in a 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday. The Dominican native launched a pitch from Merrill Kelly into right field, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
“It felt great just to give our team an early lead right there in the bottom of the second. It’s always great,” Pujols said of the homer, according to ESPN. “Thank god for giving me the opportunity to hit the ball the other way, hit it out of the ballpark and give an early lead to our ball club.”
It was Pujols’ 668th career home run, which is the most among active players and fifth all-time. He became the oldest Dodger to hit a home run since Rickey Henderson homered for The Boys in Blue at age 44 in 2003.
The home run also marked Pujols’ 3,256th hit in MLB, breaking a tie with Eddie Murray for 13th on the all-time list.
L.A. is on a four-game winning streak and has won eight of its last nine games. However, the Dodgers own a 26-18 record, which is third in the NL West behind the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres.