ST. LOUIS – The Summer to 700 continues for Albert Pujols. The St. Louis Cardinals first baseman is now just two home runs shy of joining an exclusive home run club.

Albert Pujols picked up his 698th career home run on Friday against the Cincinnati Reds. Pujols hit to Reds pitcher Raynel Espinal deep in the sixth inning, a two-run home run that now ties the game.

Pujols has been heating up in the power department recently. He has 15 home runs since the turn to the second half and 12 since the start of August.

Only three MLB greats now have more career home runs than Pujols, all part of the exclusive 700-home run club. The top three all-time home run leaders are Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714). 

Pujols took over fourth place on Sept. 11 with his 697th home run, one day after he matched Alex Rodriguez (696) for fourth-most round-trippers in MLB history.

While chasing fourth-place all-time and 700 career home runs, Pujols also passed a more specific home run record held by MLB’s all-time home run leader Barry Bonds. Pujols went deep against his 450th different hurler on Aug. 29, giving him the most home runs all-time off of different pitchers. 

With 18 games remaining in the 2022 regular season, Pujols will need to average around one home run every nine games in order to reach 700 career home runs. It looks encouraging if Pujols can keep up a pace he has sustained since August, picking up one home run around every four games on average.

Regardless of how things end up, the sendoff season has been quite special for Pujols, one in which he participated the Home Run Derby and MLB All-Star Game after a commissioner’s legacy pick and one in which he made his first appearance as a pitcher.

Now in his 12th season with the Cardinals, Pujols won three NL MVP awards and two World Series rings in St. Louis from 2001-2011, a stint during which he slugged at least 32 home runs each season and pushed several franchise batting records. He ranks second in Cardinals history with 462 home runs only behind fellow Cardinals legend Stan Musial.