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07/16/07 6:20 PM ET
Pujols named NL Player of the Week
Cardinals slugger homered in three straight games
By C.J. Moore / MLB.com
Albert Pujols broke a career-long homerless streak Friday in Philadelphia. Then Pujols turned the three-game series at Citizens Bank Park into his own home run derby. Pujols hit home runs in three straight games, including two Sunday in the Cardinals' 10-2 victory. Monday, he was rewarded as the Bank of America National League Player of the Week for July 9-15. The six-time NL All-Star led the National League with 19 total bases for the week, went 6-for-14, scored five runs and had five RBIs over the weekend in Philadelphia. His two homers Sunday gave him 20 on the season, which made him the 21st player in Major League history to hit 20 homers in each of his first seven seasons. After 22 games and 77 at-bats without a home run, the 27-year-old first baseman broke his career-long drought with a 471-foot shot in the eighth inning Friday. "You guys in the media made a big deal of it," Pujols said of his homerless streak. "I didn't make a big deal. I made a big deal, because we weren't winning. I do what I have to do to help my team win." The Cardinals only won one game in Philadelphia, but Pujols started the second half blazing hot after a slow start to the season -- at least by Pujols' lofty standards. He leads the Cardinals in batting average (.320), hits (55), runs (102), RBIs (57), doubles (17), total bases (179), on-base percentage (.412) and home runs. However, he had career-low numbers for the first half in runs, homers, RBIs and slugging percentage. "I've been seeing the ball well the last two months," he said. "That's all I can do. As long as I do that, I can't control the rest." Pujols started the week in the news because of his frustrations of not playing in the All-Star Game, and he voiced his frustrations after the game about not getting a chance to pinch-hit for the Phillies outfielder Aaron Rowand with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Pujols said after the game if he wasn't expecting to play, he wouldn't have come to the game. However, he downplayed the significance of the situation when he returned to St. Louis on Wednesday. "Was I disappointed I didn't get in the game? Of course," he said. "I'm a competitor. I want to help the National League win. Does that make it a big deal? No. It wasn't a big deal to me. I guess it was a big deal to everyone else in the country." If he did have any frustrations, he took it out on Rowand's team, the Phillies, and he ended the week just where he started -- in the news.
C.J. Moore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.