Posted: Wednesday May 17, 2006 11:31AM; Updated: Wednesday May 17, 2006 2:10PM
Celebration on hold: Albert Pujols crashed the Astros' NL pennant party in Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS.
David E. Klutho/SI
5. Oct. 10, 2004: Three-run homer all but clinches NL Division Series It looked like a mismatch when the Cardinals took on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-five, first-round series, even more so after St. Louis won Games 1 and 2 with back-to-back 8-3 victories. But then Jose Lima shut out the Cardinals in Game 3, and the Dodgers scored in the bottom of the third the next night to tie Game 4 and make their case for an upset. With two out, two on and an ailing/slumping Scott Rolen on deck, Pujols belted a three-run homer off Wilson Alvarez. Just like that, St. Louis was breezing to a 6-2 victory that sent them to the next round, in which Pujols became ...
4. Oct. 13-21, 2004: NL Championship Series MVP Some famous sluggers have gone years before having a big October. On the heels of the NLDS triumph, Pujols put those worries to rest, going 14 for 28 with four homers in the Cardinals' seven-game outlasting of the Houston Astros. Pujols' OPS in the series was 1.563. He went 5 for 7 with two homers and two walks -- including a game-winning blast in the bottom of the eighth of Game 2 -- as the Cardinals won the first two games. After St. Louis dropped three straight at Houston, Pujols went 3 for 5 with a homer, a double and a walk in Game 6, scoring the game-winning run in the 12th. Finally, he doubled home the tying run and scored the go-ahead run off Roger Clemens in the Cards' 5-2 win in Game 7. The Cardinals couldn't carry the magic further, getting swept by the Red Sox in the World Series despite Pujols' .879 OPS.
3. Oct. 17, 2005: The Brad Lidge blast For all his offense prior to and during the 2004 playoffs, for all 41 home runs that helped him win the 2005 NL MVP award, the titanic blast to stun the Astros in Game 5 of the NLCS and send the series back to St. Louis for Game 6 might be Pujols' most memorable. It capped the Cardinals' rally from a two-run deficit with two out and none on in the ninth and forestalled series elimination.
2. April 16-17, 2006: Homers in four consecutive at-bats His three home runs in St. Louis' 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds included a 441-foot walk-off shot in the ninth off David Weathers. When Pujols blasted one off Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm in the first inning the following day, he tied another major league record.
1. April 29, 2006: Sets April record with 14th home runs Of course it was a game-winner, coming in the bottom of the eighth against the Washington Nationals. The shot put Pujols on pace to hit 94 home runs. Through Tuesday's game his total is at 19, which projects to an 81-homer season, which is ridiculous.