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Albert Pujols, Mike Trout mock Fernando Rodney with arrow exchange (Video)

There’s a little bit of a beef brewing between the Angels and the Mariners this year.

The teams have been two of the best in the AL this season and are competing for a playoff spot from the AL West. They also had a great 3-game series in Anaheim over the weekend, with the teams splitting 3-2 extra-innings wins the first two games, and the Angels getting a walk-off 6-5 win on Sunday.

Albert Pujols arrowDuring their comeback in the 9th inning Sunday, Angels stars Albert Pujols and Mike Trout even mocked Mariners closer Fernando Rodney, who blew the save and took the loss.

Rodney walked Trout to start the 9th, and Pujols inside-outed a fastball down the right field line for a tying double to make the score 5-5. After Trout scored the tying run, he and Pujols exchanged arrows to mock Rodney, who fires a bow and arrow as his save celebration. Keep in mind that after escaping a jam in the 8th inning, Rodney did his arrow celebration and pointed it towards the Angels dugout.

As @lbsports notes, Rodney did the bow and arrow thing after ... on Twitpic

After allowing the tying run, Rodney gave up a single, intentional walk and got a double play. Following another intentional walk, Grant Green hit a walk-off RBI single to give the Angels their 59th win of the season.

There will be other days for Rodney, but you know this had to hurt. And he has no room to get mad at the Angels for mocking him when he started things by pretending to fire one of his arrows at the Angels dugout.

“Fernando’s animated. Our guys noticed it,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after the game.

Angels starter Tyler Skaggs, who took a no decision, had even better quotes.

“I did not,” Skaggs said when asked if he saw Rodney fire the arrow at the Angels dugout, “but I heard about it and I’m glad we scored and won because that’s ridiculous. Just goes to show you — don’t rile up our team because we have a lot of good players. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. I’m looking forward to the next time we play them.”

What goes around comes around. Also keep in mind that Rodney pitched for the Angels in 2010 and 2011 and was not happy by the end of his stint with the team. After losing the closer job in 2011, Rodney complained about his lack of a role and said the team should trade him. Maybe some of that beef with the coaches still lingers for him.

Here’s another angle for Pujols doing the bow and arrow:

Albert Pujols blames groin injury for costly baserunning mistake

Albert Pujols baserunning

Albert Pujols says a swollen lymph gland in his groin is to blame for a costly baserunning mistake he made against the Royals on Sunday.

Pujols laced a line drive down the left field line in the top of the sixth inning of a 4-3 game between Kansas City and the Angels. The ball was hit sharply down the line and left fielder Alex Gordon was far away from it, so it looked like Pujols would cruise into second with an easy stand-up double. However, the ball caromed perfectly to Gordon, and he threw into second where Alcides Escobar tagged out Pujols, who sopped going hard a few feet from the bag because he thought he had it.

“I think it was one of those things that when I saw the ball, I got my mind set to slide,” Pujols said via the Angels website. “When I saw the ball tailing to the right, I kind of shut it down and that’s when I felt it. I’m not looking for an excuse. I should’ve run all the way through the bag. Obviously, they made a good play.”

So was it the groin injury or did Pujols just misjudge things? It sounds like a bit of both.

What made the error so costly is that two batters later, Erick Aybar hit a home run to tie the game. Had Pujols been on base, it would have given the Angels the lead. They lost 5-4.

Pujols says the injury doesn’t bother him when he swings and hadn’t bothered him on the bases until Sunday, so it’s not like it’s reason for Scioscia to take him out of the lineup. Albert has been nothing short of abysmal on the basepaths this season. The guy tries to take extra bases when he shouldn’t and has been thrown out at second trying to stretch doubles. He just needs to chill out and play station to station now.

Erick Aybar: Albert Pujols called 500th home run before game

Albert Pujols home runAlbert Pujols did something on Tuesday night that has never been done before in Major League Baseball history. He became the 26th player ever to hit 500 home runs in his career, but the Los Angeles Angels slugger is the only hitter to ever homer twice in one game to get to 500. And to make the feat even more impressive, Pujols supposedly called his shots.

Angels shortstop Erick Aybar said Pujols told his teammates before the game that Tuesday would be the night.

“He said he was going to hit two homers and drive in five runs,” Aybar told reporters, via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

Mike Trout heard it, too.

“If Albert tells you something, he’s going to do it,” Trout said.

After an injury-plagued 2013 season, Pujols is locked in. He leads the majors with eight home runs and is tied for second in the American League with 19 RBI. His swing feels so good right now that he even told his wife she might want to travel to Washington in addition to New York to watch his pursuit of 500. As it turned out, Pujols is so dialed in that his wife missed the milestone.

“You don’t see a 500th homer every night,” the 34-year-old said. “It’s been a great career. I thank the Lord for giving me the power and strength to play this game. The last couple years have been really tough, but I feel I’m getting my swing right where I want to be.”

Hitting 500 home runs is great. Angels fans should be even more excited about the fact that Pujols is swinging so well. If LA wants to contend for a title this season, they will need their best hitter to earn his paycheck.

Fan who caught Albert Pujols’ 500th homer gives it back for free

Tom-Sherill-Albert-Pujols-home-run

Albert Pujols reached a major milestone during the Los Angeles Angels’ win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night when he blasted the 499th and 500th home runs of his career. Catching a 500th home run ball can be like hitting the lottery, but that’s only if you feel like negotiating. Tom Sherill, the 29-year-old Angels fan who caught Pujols’ 500th homer, asked for nothing.

“I’ll take whatever they want to give me, but I’m not going to be picky,”Sherrill told Angels broadcasters Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza on Fox Sports West, according to Big League Stew. “I just want to make sure that Albert gets the ball. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Sherill only ended up asking for one thing, and it wasn’t for himself. The ball he caught had deflected off the stomach of another fan. He wanted that fan and his children to have a chance to meet Pujols as well.

Big League Stew’s David Brown pointed out that the Angels gave Sherill a hat and four free tickets to the game of his choice. Considering what he could have gotten for the ball on eBay, Sherill hooked the team up big time. I’d have to imagine Pujols will have some more goodies for him.

Photo: Twitter/Tim Mead

Albert Pujols becomes first ever to homer twice to get to 500 (Video)

Albert Pujols home runAlbert Pujols became the 26th player in baseball history to hit 500 career home runs, and he was the first to ever do so by homering twice in the same game.

Pujols went deep off Washington Nationals starter Taylor Jordan twice Tuesday, once in the first for a 3-run shot and then a 2-run blast in the sixth to give him number 500. The second home run was a massive shot measured at 430 feet.

Pujols is off to a torrid start for the Angels and tied for the league lead with seven home runs.

Pujols also hit his 400th career home run at Nationals Park. According to MLB, he has now homered off 316 pitchers in 36 different ballparks and against 29 of the 30 teams (he hasn’t homered against the Cardinals).

Albert is the third-youngest player to reach 500 home runs behind A-Rod and Jimmie Foxx, though many have questions about Pujols’ age (he’s 34 years and 96 days old). He’s the second player to hit his 500th home run as a member of the Angels, joining Reggie Jackson.

Albert Pujols becomes 26th player in MLB history to hit 500 home runs (Video)

albert-pujols-500-swingA solo home run on Saturday left Albert Pujols just two shy of joining one of Major League Baseball’s exclusive clubs. It was only a matter of when, not if, the three-time National League MVP would become the 26th player to reach the 500 home run plateau.

Tuesday was that day.

In the first inning, Pujols hit No. 499, a three-run shot, to left field off of Washington Nationals starter Taylor Jordan. In the fifth, Pujols hit one of the two-run variety and Jordan became the answer to the trivia question “Who was on the mound for Albert Pujols’ 500th home run?”

At 34-years-old, Pujols is the third youngest to reach the feat behind Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx, who were both 32.

The two home runs give Pujols eight for the season, most in the majors. Within his sights on the all-time list are Eddie Murray (504), Gary Sheffield (509), Mel Ott (511), Eddie Matthews (512), and Ernie Banks (512).

albert-pujols-500

Albert Pujols thinks he’s above Mike Trout comparisons

Albert-Pujols-Angels-slumpMike Trout has had better overall production than Albert Pujols with the Los Angeles Angels over the past two seasons, but Albert Pujols is still Albert Pujols. The 34-year-old slugger is one of the greatest hitters to ever play. He’s also the only player in MLB history to bat at least .300 with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI in his first 10 seasons.

Trout, who has been healthier than Pujols in recent years, has established himself as one of the best players in the game. That doesn’t mean he can be compared to Pujols just yet, and Albert was beyond offended when a reporter asked him earlier this offseason if he is motivated to put up the same numbers as Trout.

“Can you imagine someone saying that to me?” Pujols told USA Today Sports when recalling the question. “I felt like saying, ‘Come on, are you serious? Are you really asking me that? Check out my numbers. I know what Mike Trout has done in his first two years is pretty special, but will you look at my numbers. I’ve been doing this for almost 14 years.’

“The only guy in baseball who can match the numbers I’ve put up is Barry Bonds, and someone is actually asking if I can put up numbers like Mike Trout? Are you freaking kidding me?”

While Pujols certainly has a point, the fact that he and Trout share the same locker room makes his reaction a bit awkward. You can understand his not wanting to be compared to a 22-year-old kid, but that kid is his teammate. It’s not like Pujols was compared to some minor leaguer in the Miami Marlins’ system.

“He’s a great kid who always wants to learn and is so humble,” Pujols says. “But if it takes someone comparing me to Mike Trout to motivate me, it’s time for me to get out of the game.”

Relax, big fella. Pujols’ foot injury has scared Angels fans to the point where they are already starting to call his massive contract a mistake. If Trout is still Trout in 2014 and Pujols can get back to being Pujols, the Angels have a chance to make a run in the American League.

H/T Big League Stew