Pujols 2 HRs, passes Mays for 5th place, Angels beat Rangers

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Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols, right, is greeted by third base coach Brian Butterfield as he runs the bases on a solo home run during the fifth inning of the team's baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Albert Pujols needed nearly five weeks to tie Willie Mays for fifth place on the career home run list. It took only five days for the Los Angeles Angels slugger to pass him.

Pujols hit No. 661 in the fifth inning on Friday night against the Texas Rangers to break the tie with Mays, then connected again in his next at-bat in the 6-2 victory.

“I knew that whenever it happens, whether it was going to be this year or next year, it was going to happen,” he said. “I definitely wasn’t thinking about trying to hit one out. It happened tonight and look how perfect it worked out. I not only got one, but two on the night.”

The 40-year-old Pujols now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).

Pujols said that he received a text and email from Mays after he tied the Hall of Famer on Sunday in Colorado. Pujols added that he had not checked his phone after Friday's game to see how many congratulatory messages he had received.

“It is pretty special when you are talking about Willie Mays. What he did on the field is amazing,” Pujols said. “He’s a legend, pretty smart and he knows how to give good advice.”

Pujols had hit just four home runs this season before posting the 60th multi-HR game of his career and first since May 11 last year at Baltimore. He finished with three hits on the night.

Pujols passed Mays with a solo drive to left. Pujols sent a 1-2 fastball from Wes Benjamin into the Rangers' bullpen. Pujols pointed to the dugout and did a fist pump as he approached third base.