Albert Pujols is confident the Los Angeles Dodgers remain the best team in MLB and was happy to help the World Series champions with his first home run since signing.

City rivals the Los Angeles Angels designated Pujols for assignment this month, but the future Hall of Famer quickly found a new home.

The Dodgers have since gone 4-0 to improve to 26-18, although they are still only third in the NL West.

Injuries to Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager have not helped the team, but Pujols believes they are still the best around.

"Just because I'm here, that doesn't change anything," he said when asked about the recent upturn in form. "These guys are a heck of a ball club.

"Before I got here, this team is probably the best team in the major leagues.

"You look up and down the lineup, the bullpen, the starting pitcher, even though they've got a couple of guys hurt. The quality guys we have here, they know how to win.

"The young guys, the energy that they have, I'm just excited to be part of this group.

"Just because I'm here we have a winning streak? I don't believe in that. I believe this is a great team."

The Dodgers' wins with Pujols on the team have all come in a series sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks, concluding with a 3-2 victory on Thursday.

Pujols set them on their way to that success with a two-run homer in the second inning.

It was his first for the Dodgers but 668th of his career, including five for the Angels this season.

The 41-year-old therefore became the first player in MLB history to homer for two different teams in the same metropolitan area before the end of May.

"Coming through here for 20 years-plus, I saw the energy that these guys have," said Pujols, who now has 3,256 hits, 13th on the all-time list.

"Whether with the Cardinals or the Angels, it always seemed like these guys were ready to play every day.

"I'm just glad to be on this side now and enjoying the energy and jumping on the wagon with some of these guys.

"I'm just excited to contribute and obviously to help this ball club continue to win."

Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols hit his first home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers as the World Series champions extended their winning streak in MLB.

Pujols – acquired on a one-year deal on Monday, having been designated for assignment by city rivals the Los Angeles Angels – launched a two-run homer in the second inning of the Dodgers' 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

It was Pujols' 668th career home run as the Dodgers celebrated their fourth consecutive victory.

Pujols – a two-time World Series champion, three-time MVP and 10-time All-Star – now has 3,256 hits, 13th on the all-time list.

According to Stats Perform, the 41-year-old Pujols became the first player in MLB history to homer for two different teams in the same metro area before the end of May.

Elsewhere, the San Francisco Giants showed no mercy in a 19-4 demolition of the Cincinnati Reds, who suffered a four-game sweep.

Steven Duggar hit his first career grand slam in a nine-run third inning, while Brandon Crawford drove in six runs for the Giants.

The Giants, who had season highs of 19 runs and 16 hits, now own the best record in the majors amid a five-game winning streak.

 

Cubs roar as Happ homers

A pair of Ian Happ home runs helped the Chicago Cubs beat the Washington Nationals 5-2. Happ also drove in three runs at Wrigley Field.

The Tampa Bay Rays routed the Baltimore Orioles 10-1, extending their winning streak to seven games, thanks to Joey Wendle's two homers.

Sandy Alcantara produced a two-hit performance of six innings as the Miami Marlins shut out the Philadelphia Phillies 6-0.

 

Mahle struggles

It was a game to forget for Tyler Mahle and the Reds. Cincinnati pitcher Mahle allowed seven runs, seven hits and two walks in just two innings. His ERA rose from 2.93 to 4.20.

 

Martinez the hero in Dunedin

J.D. Martinez hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in a three-run ninth inning as the Boston Red Sox rallied past the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7. Martinez's 250th career home run snapped a 12-game streak without a homer as the Red Sox held onto the American League (AL) East lead.

 

Thursday's results

San Francisco Giants 19-4 Cincinnati Reds
Tampa Bay Rays 10-1 Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees 2-0 Texas Rangers
Chicago Cubs 5-2 Washington Nationals
Houston Astros 8-4 Oakland Athletics
Los Angeles Angles 7-1 Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins 6-3 Los Angeles Angels
Miami Marlins 6-0 Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 Atlanta Braves
Boston Red Sox 8-7 Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Arizona Diamondbacks

 

White Sox at Yankees

AL Central leaders the Chicago White Sox (26-16) will visit the streaking Yankees (25-19) on Friday. The Yankees have won three straight games following a slow start to the season. White Sox ace Carlos Rodon takes to the mound at Yankee Stadium, where the hosts counter with Jordan Montgomery.

Albert Pujols described his Los Angeles Dodgers debut as "pretty awesome" after the two-time World Series champion made his bow in a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 41-year-old joined from city rivals the Angels, where he had entered the final season of his 10-year, $240million contract.

Pujols, a three-time MVP and 10-time All-Star, grabbed an RBI single from his first hit on Monday. That brought in fellow superstar Mookie Betts to score in the 3-1 victory against the Diamondbacks.

He has signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers and savoured his first outing for the team, saying: "It was pretty awesome. Really high-pumped energy by the fans. I was really excited to take that field and to contribute tonight."

Now that he has a new home, Pujols will be looking to significantly add to the 667 home runs that put him fifth on the all-time list.

New team-mate Walker Buehler stole the show for the reigning World Series champions on Monday, however, throwing seven scoreless innings to help the Dodgers to a fifth win in their past six games.

Pujols could not help but be impressed.

"It's pretty amazing," said Pujols, quoted on the team's website. "I never had the opportunity to face him in the past, but just to see him and the electric stuff that he has is just unbelievable.

"He owned that mound when he was out there and it's pretty amazing."

The Chicago White Sox further enhanced their MLB World Series potential after pounding the Minnesota Twins 16-4.

Having made no secret of their World Series aspirations at the start of the season, the White Sox continue to impress following Monday's crushing win over the Twins.

American League (AL) Central leaders the White Sox – who have won nine of their past 11 games – posted season highs in hits (18) and runs.

Nick Madrigal had three hits, including his maiden MLB homer and White Sox team-mate Danny Mendick launched his first career grand slam in Minneapolis.

For the ninth time in White Sox history, a player hit their first career homer and first career grand slam, however, Monday was the first time it was achieved by two different players.

Yasmani Grandal became the first player in White Sox history with three four-plus walk games in a season, while team-mate Yermin Mercedes is the first player in franchise history to homer off a position player pitcher since 1955.

White Sox ace Dallas Keuchel pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits against the hapless Twins.

Meanwhile, two-way star Shohei Ohtani was at it again as the Los Angeles Angels took down the Cleveland Indians 7-4.

Ohtani hit his MLB-leading 13th home run of the season – a three-run homer in the second inning.

 

Cole makes history

The New York Yankees were beaten 5-2 by the Texas Rangers but it was a memorable outing for ace Gerrit Cole, who recorded the most strikeouts without a walk (61) in any stretch of a season since 1983, eclipsing the 58 tallied by Corbin Burnes earlier this season. The Rangers snapped a six-game skid in the victory.

The San Francisco Giants trumped the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 behind six shut-out innings from Logan Webb, who gave up six hits, struck out four and walked a batter.

 

Pillar left bloodied in scary incident

The New York Mets topped the Atlanta Braves 3-1 but it came at a cost. Right fielder Kevin Pillar was hit in the nose by a pitch from Atlanta's Jacob Webb in the seventh inning. Pillar fell straight to the ground as blood poured from his nose. The incident left Mets and Braves players shaken in Atlanta.

Angels star Mike Trout exited in the first inning of the team's victory. Trout walked and reached second base before sustaining a right calf strain.

 

Pujols makes immediate impact

Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols signed a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, following his exit from city rivals the Angels. The 41-year-old slugger – a two-time World Series champion, three-time MVP and 10-time All-Star – made his first appearance for the Dodgers that day, his first hit an RBI single. It brought in star Mookie Betts to score in the World Series champions' 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

Monday's results

San Francisco Giants 6-3 Cincinnati Reds
New York Mets 3-1 Atlanta Braves
Chicago White Sox 16-4 Minnesota Twins
Chicago Cubs 7-3 Washington Nationals
Texas Rangers 5-2 New York Yankees
Los Angeles Angels 7-4 Cleveland Indians
Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres 7-0 Colorado Rockies
Detroit Tigers 4-1 Seattle Mariners

 

Red Sox at Blue Jays

AL East leaders the Boston Red Sox (25-17) will travel to Dunedin for their series opener against division rivals the Toronto Blue Jays (22-17) on Tuesday. Blue Jays ace Ryu Hyun-jin takes to the mound, while the Red Sox counter with Eduardo Rodriguez.

Albert Pujols will continue his remarkable MLB career with World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers after leaving city rivals the Los Angeles Angels.

Pujols' future was in limbo after the Angels designated the future Hall of Famer for assignment earlier this month, less than two months into the last season of the slugger's 10-year, $240million contract.

Following speculation over his next move, 10-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion Pujols signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers on Monday.

The stacked Dodgers now boast four former MVPs in Pujols, Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger.

"I feel like I've still got some gasoline left in my tank," the 41-year-old told reporters during his introductory news conference.

The oldest active player in the majors and one of the greatest sluggers in baseball history, Pujols' 667 home runs rank fifth while his 669 doubles are also fifth-most of all time, but he has been batting mere .198 this season, though has homered five times and is fourth on the Angels with 12 RBIs.

Only Hank Aaron has more RBIs than Pujols' 2,112 since it became an official statistic in 1920, and Pujols is 13th on the all-time hits list with 3,253.

"They were really excited to have me here, and that's what led me to make this decision to come here," Pujols said. "I'm really excited to help this organisation this year to get another ring."

Pujols enjoyed great success with the St Louis Cardinals, where he led the franchise to two World Series championships, one other National League (NL) pennant and six division crowns.

A unanimous NL Rookie of the Year Award winner in 2001 when he hit .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs, Pujols made his first of nine All-Star selections with the Cardinals.

In his 11 seasons in St Louis, Pujols won three NL MVP Awards and finished in the top five in voting seven other times. 

He left St Louis after helping the Cardinals win the 2011 World Series to sign a lucrative deal with the Angels.

After slugging 445 home runs with 455 doubles while slashing .328/.420/.617 for a 1.037 OPS in 1,705 games over 11 seasons with the Cardinals, Pujols never lived up to expectations over 10 seasons with the Angels, hitting 222 homers with 214 doubles with a .256/.311/.447 slash line for a .758 OPS in 1,181 games.

His production dropped off significantly in the past four seasons, with 53 homers and a .239/.290/.414 slash line for a .704 OPS in 311 games.

He only earned one trip to the All-Star game since joining the Angels and the franchise made just one postseason appearance, getting swept by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 American League Division Series (ALDS).

"I told them I'm here to do whatever -- pinch-hit, first base, whatever they want," Pujols said regarding his role with the Dodgers. "I think at the end of the day, I'm just excited to have this opportunity to wear this uniform.

"I've been playing against this organisation long enough on the other side. I can see how they go about it. That's something that I wanted to be part of."

Pujols added: "I don't have to show the Angels or anybody. I'm just going to go be myself out there and play the game. I love this game. I enjoy this game."

Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian insisted there is "never a right time for something like this" after the MLB franchise designated future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols for assignment.

Pujols' future is in limbo following Thursday's announcement – a procedural move that will lead to his release by the end of the week, less than two months into the last season of the slugger's 10-year, $240million contract.

The oldest active player in the majors, the 41-year-old Pujols popped out to first in his final at-bat with the Angels in Tuesday's ninth inning before sitting out Wednesday in the team's fourth straight loss. 

One of the greatest sluggers in baseball history, Pujols' 667 home runs rank fifth while his 669 doubles are also fifth-most of all time, but he has been batting mere .198 this season, though has homered five times and is fourth on the Angels with 12 RBIs.

"There's never a right time for something like this," Minasian said. "Obviously, I have all the respect in the world for what type of player he is; this is more about playing time and who we have."

"Albert is not a bench player," Minasian continued. "We felt like for him, with respect to him, keeping him on the bench, him not getting any playing time, would not do him any good or the team any good.

"Never a good time for this, but with that being said, we felt like it was the best thing for the organisation."

Only Hank Aaron has more RBIs than Pujols' 2,112 since it became an official statistic in 1920, and Pujols is 13th on the all-time hits list with 3,253.

Pujols enjoyed great success with the St Louis Cardinals, where he led the franchise to two World Series championships, one other National League (NL) pennant and six division crowns.

A unanimous NL Rookie of the Year Award winner in 2001 when he hit .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs, Pujols made his first of nine All-Star selections with the Cardinals.

In his 11 seasons in St Louis, Pujols won three NL MVP Awards and finished in the top five in voting seven other times. 

He left St Louis after helping the Cardinals win the 2011 World Series to sign a mega deal with the Angels.

After slugging 445 home runs with 455 doubles while slashing .328/.420/.617 for a 1.037 OPS in 1,705 games over 11 seasons with the Cardinals, Pujols never lived up to expectations over 10 seasons with the Angels, hitting 222 homers with 214 doubles with a .256/.311/.447 slash line for a .758 OPS in 1,181 games.

His production dropped off significantly in the past four seasons, with 53 homers and a .239/.290/.414 slash line for a .704 OPS in 311 games.

He only earned one trip to the All-Star game since joining the Angels and the franchise made just one postseason appearance, getting swept by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 American League Division Series (ALDS).

"He's as professional as any player I've ever dealt with," Minasian said. "There was no fight, there was no argument; this was a conversation that went back and forth.

"He expressed his feelings, we expressed ours; he understood where we stood on the whole situation. Things did not end bad. I gave him a big hug."

"He's as motivated as he's ever been," Minasian added. "If the situation was different and there were at-bats for him to play here, it'd be different. But let me put it this way -- if he does go somewhere else, and pursue playing somewhere else, I would not bet against him."

Angels manager Joe Maddon said: "Everybody will tell you the same thing; if you watch Albert work, it's pretty impressive. He's been around for a bit, he's been playing for a while, but he came to the ballpark with the same zeal on a daily basis. That's what I saw.

"The guy wanted to play, he wants to be on the field; he does not want to be a bench player of any kind. This guy has got a lot of pride, and that's a big reason why he's going to be a first-ballot unanimous Hall of Famer."

Albert Pujols' 10-year stint with Los Angeles Angles is over after the franchise surprisingly designated the future Hall of Fame slugger for assignment on Thursday.

The oldest active player in the majors at 41 years old, Pujols popped out to first in his final at-bat with the Angels in Tuesday's ninth inning before sitting out Wednesday in the club's fourth straight loss. 

He is batting a mere .198 this season, though has homered five times and is fourth on the Angels with 12 RBIs.

'"The Angels organization proudly signed Albert Pujols in 2011, and are honoured that he has worn an Angels jersey for nearly half of his Hall of Fame career,'" Angels owner Arte Moreno said in a statement.

"Albert's historical accomplishments, both on and off the field, serve as an inspiration to athletes everywhere, and his actions define what it means to be a true superstar. 

"Since his Rookie of the Year season in 2001, Albert and his wife Deidre have generously given their time and resources to countless charities throughout the world. We are thankful to the entire Pujols family."

One of the greatest sluggers in baseball history, Pujols' 667 home runs rank fifth while his 669 doubles are also fifth-most of all time. 

Only Hank Aaron has more RBIs than Pujols' 2,112 since it became an official statistic in 1920, and Pujols is 13th on the all-time hits list with 3,253.

While he is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, much of his production came in the first half of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals.

A unanimous NL Rookie of the Year Award winner in 2001 when he hit .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs, Pujols made his first of nine All-Star selections with the Cardinals.

In his 11 seasons in St. Louis, Pujols won three NL MVP Awards and finished in the top five in voting seven other times. 

He led the Cardinals to two World Series championships, one other NL pennant and six division crowns.

He left St. Louis after helping the Cardinals win the 2011 World Series to sign a 10-year, $240 million contract with Los Angeles in a move that has served as a cautionary tale for franchises considering giving long-term deals to players on the wrong side of 30 years old.

After slugging 445 home runs with 455 doubles while slashing .328/.420/.617 for a 1.037 OPS in 1,705 games over 11 seasons with the Cardinals, Pujols never lived up to expectations over 10 seasons with the Angels, hitting 222 homers with 214 doubles with a .256/.311/.447 slash line for a .758 OPS in 1,181 games.

His production dropped off significantly in the past four seasons, with 53 homers and a .239/.290/.414 slash line for a .704 OPS in 311 games.

He only earned one trip to the All-Star game since joining Los Angeles and the franchise made just one postseason appearance, getting swept by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 American League Division Series.

Pujols is making $30 million in salary this season, and should another team pick him up after he clears waivers, the Angels still would owe him the rest of his $30 million.

The Angels' stars were on display Tuesday in Anaheim, as Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit towering home runs to back two-way star Shohei Ohtani and the pitching staff in a 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers. 

Making his second start of the season, Ohtani baffled Rangers hitters for better or for worse in his four shutout innings. He allowed just one hit, but walked six and struck out seven as he worked his way into and out of jams throughout his stint on the mound. 

Though Ohtani's 11 walks through two starts are a concern, MLB hitters have yet to demonstrate they can do much damage against him with the bat. 

The same cannot be said for the heart of the Angels' lineup. After Trout hammered a 446-foot home run in the sixth inning, Pujols hit one exactly the same distance in the seventh. It was Pujols' second homer of the season and the 664th of his career.

 

Urias takes pitchers' duel

There was little margin for error between the Dodgers' Julio Urias (seven innings, one hit, career-high 11 strikeouts) and the Mariners' Marco Gonzales (seven innings, two hits, six strikeouts) on Tuesday.

The two teams combined for just three hits -- a single and a double by Los Angeles and a single by Seattle -- as the World Series champions prevailed 1-0.

According to Stats Perform, the four combined total bases were the fewest ever in an interleague game. 

 

Cardinals' bullpen blows up

Adam Wainwright turned in a vintage start for St. Louis against the Nationals, but a meltdown by the Cardinals' bullpen led to a 3-2 loss in Washington. Wainwright left after seven innings, holding a 2-1 lead after striking out 10. 

But his replacement, Giovanny Gallegos, could not close the door. He walked the first batter he faced and hit the second before eventually walking Josh Harrison with the bases loaded and two outs to force in what proved to be the winning run. 

 

Spectacular catch backs spectacular pitching

Corbin Burnes had another remarkable outing for the Brewers, striking out 10 without walking a batter to give him 40 strikeouts and zero walks this season. According to Stats Perform, Burnes is the first pitcher to fan at least 40 without walking a man over any four-game span in the modern era.

Impressive as those numbers are, Burnes would not have kept the Padres off the scoreboard in a 6-0 win without an incredible diving catch by Billy McKinney in left field to end the fourth inning with two San Diego runners stranded on base. 

 

Tuesday's results

New York Yankees 3-1 Atlanta Braves
Oakland Athletics 7-0 Minnesota Twins
Oakland Athletics 1-0 Minnesota Twins
Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 Seattle Mariners
Chicago White Sox 8-5 Cleveland Indians
Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Miami Marlins
Washington Nationals 3-2 St. Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants 10-7 Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox 4-2 Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago Cubs 3-1 New York Mets
Tampa Bay Rays 14-7 Kansas City Royals
Colorado Rockies 6-2 Houston Astros
Los Angeles Angels 6-2 Texas Rangers
Milwaukee Brewers 6-0 San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 Cincinnati Reds (suspended)
Pittsburgh Pirates-Detroit Tigers (postponed)

 

Giants at Phillies

San Francisco (10-6) will turn to pitcher Anthony DeSclafani to try to complete a three-game sweep of the Phillies (8-8). The right-hander has allowed just two runs over 17 innings in three starts this season, for a 1.06 ERA. 

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