Rays’ Archer halts win streak

He has six home runs in the last six games, and is now tied with Jim­mie Foxx at 534.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Bill Shaikin bill.shaikin@la­times.com Twit­ter: @Bil­lShaikin

Al­bert Pu­jols homers again, but An­gels are stif led by Tampa Bay starter, who fans 15.

On the West Coast, a slug­ger has a mile­stone com­ing up that his team’s owner will be de­lighted to pay.

There will be no threats, no con­trac­tual loop­holes, no sug­ges­tion that a team that mar­kets ball­park dirt can­not mar­ket a mile­stone.

When Al­bert Pu­jols gets his 3,000th hit, the An­gels will salute him, with con­fetti and fire­works and a check for $3 mil­lion from grate­ful owner Arte Moreno. If he catches Barry Bonds at 763 home runs, the An­gels will pay him an­other $7 mil­lion.

That prob­a­bly is not go­ing to hap­pen — but, af­ter the past week, never say never. Pu­jols hit his sixth home run in six games Tues­day, in the An­gels’ 6-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

“When he gets go­ing, he’s in a class of his own,” An­gels Manager Mike Scios­cia said. “He’s on ev­ery­thing.”

Chris Archer, the ma­jor league leader in strike­outs, stopped the An­gels on six hits and no walks over eight innings. He struck out 15, ty­ing the Rays’ record, and he ended the An­gels’ win­ning streak at five games.

The An­gels tied their club record for strike­outs in a nine-in­ning game.

The only An­gels starter Archer did not strike out was Pu­jols. On Tues­day, Pu­jols went deep in the fourth in­ning, and he came within a few feet of go­ing deep again in the eighth.

And he was de­lighted, even if you could not tell from look­ing at the re­plays.

“You can def­i­nitely tell he’s ex­cited,” Ian­netta said, “but he’s very pro­fes­sional about it.

“He knows how to han­dle him­self on the field. He never shows any­body up. ... With Al­bert, it’s pretty sub­dued.”

His team­mates say they can tell, even in the ab­sence of a fist pump or bat flip.

“You can tell he’s got that en­ergy about him,” Ian­netta said. “He’s truly sa­vor­ing the mo­ment.”

Pu­jols leads the An­gels in home runs. In his pre­vi­ous three sea­sons with the An­gels, Pu­jols never has hit more than 30. In his 11 sea­sons in St. Louis, he never hit fewer than 32.

Pu­jols has 14 home runs, fourth in the Amer­i­can League. He is on pace for 43, a to­tal he has not reached since 2009.

“I couldn’t even imag­ine what it’s like to have a ca­reer like that,” An­gels catcher Chris Ian­netta said, “and pass a Hall of Famer ev­ery time you hit a home run.

“And his ca­reer is far from over. He’s go­ing to have a lot more of that to come.”

Pu­jols’ ca­reer to­tal is 534 homers, which ties Hall of Famer Jim­mie Foxx for 17th on the all-time list. If he were to hit 43 home runs this sea­son, he would need to av­er­age 33 for the re­main­ing six sea­sons of his con­tract to catch Bonds.

“Ev­ery time he hits a home run, there’s an­other im­mor­tal he’s in the same sen­tence with,” Scios­cia said. “It’s fun. It’s ex­cit­ing.”

Pu­jols could slug his way into the top 10 next sea­son, by pass­ing Mark McGwire (583), Har­mon Kille­brew (573), Rafael Palmeiro (569), Reg­gie Jack­son (563), Manny Ramirez (555), Mike Sch­midt (548) and Mickey Man­tle (536).

Pu­jols is 97 home runs from catch­ing Wil­lie Mays for fifth on the all-time list.

And that 3,000th hit? He has 2,568 now. So prob­a­bly 2017 or 2018.

It will be a long time com­ing, but the An­gels will be happy to cel­e­brate, and to pay up.

Harry How Getty Images

AN­GELS RIGHT FIELDER Kole Cal­houn gives it his best ef­fort on a ball hit by Tampa Bay’s Jake El­more, but he can’t make the catch and El­more’s two-run sin­gle gives the Rays a 4-1 lead in the sixth in­ning.

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