Pujols becomes first player with 30 homers in first five years
ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Just 25 years old,
already is starting to rewrite the record books.
Pujols became the first player in major league history to hit 30 home runs in each of his first five seasons as the St. Louis Cardinals posted an 11-3 victory over the
The four-time All-Star did not wait long for No. 30, belting the first pitch he saw from Braves starter
(12-6) over the left field wall with a runner on to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
"The worst pitch I've ever thrown - ever - in that first inning, and not to mention to a really great hitter," Smoltz said.
It was Pujols' 190th career homer, tying him with Hall of Famer Eddie Matthews for the second most in his first five campaigns. Hall of Famer
has the most with 215.
"I don't care about that," Pujols said. "We got the win, let's talk about the win. The last thing you want to do is let
, future Hall of Famer, get comfortable out there."
When reporters continued to ask if he can appreciate his accomplishments, Pujols remained focused on the team's goals.
"The thing that I want to win is a championship, that's what I want to appreciate at the end of my career," Pujols said.
"He is a great, great player and a great hitter," Cardinals manager
Tony La Russa
said. "It's amazing, we've enjoyed every bit of it. The best way to describe how great it is (is) it's the first time that it's ever been done."
Pujols also scored on
's single in the sixth and
's three-run homer in the eighth, giving him a major league-leading 94 runs this season. He has led the majors in runs in each of the last two seasons and could become just the sixth player score the most runs in three consecutive campaigns, and first since
Celebrating his 28th birthday,
(13-5) made the early lead stand. The lefthander allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings to improve to 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA over his last eight starts.
"I feel great out there," Mulder said. "When Albert hit that homer in the first, (I said), 'OK, there are my two runs, let's go win this ballgame.'"
Smoltz was hammered for five runs and six hits in six innings en route to his first loss in 11 starts.
hit a solo homer in the fourth for the Cardinals, who have won five of their last seven.
"I felt like I had better stuff and I just didn't use it properly," Smoltz said.
"It's too bad because he had good stuff and he threw good," Braves manager
said. "It's still a real good lineup, but just think about it when they have everybody, it's really scary."
had a pair of hits, including a two-run double in the ninth, to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.