09/12/08 12:35 AM ET
Pujols reaches RBI century mark
Third player to begin career with eight straight such seasons
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
Perish the thought.
Pujols, who has been all but unstoppable for the past 3 1/2 weeks, drove in his 100th run of 2008, with a sixth-inning double off of Rich Harden on Thursday night in the Cardinals' 3-2 loss to the Cubs. He became the third player in Major League history to begin his career with eight straight 100-RBI seasons, joining Hall of Famers Al Simmons and Ted Williams.
"It's a blessing to accomplish eight straight years in a row, with all the injuries and all the things that have gone on in my career the last five years," Pujols said. "To accomplish that is a blessing."
The slugger has 33 home runs, and following the double sports a .360 batting average. Thus, it's virtually assured that he will make it eight-for-eight with the trifecta of at least a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs, extending his own big league record.
"Hopefully I can continue to do it," Pujols said. "Hopefully I can continue to stay healthy and do it again next year. Every year it gets tougher and tougher. Mentally and physically. That's why you need to train and prepare. I wish it would have come with a great win. It would have been more special."
Following the Cardinals' game on July 25, the team's 105th game of the year, Pujols had 56 RBIs. He was batting .344 and slugging .584 at that point, but his RBI total was down due to a combination of a disabled-list stint in June and somewhat pedestrian performance with runners in scoring position.
Since that time, though, Pujols has been spectacular -- even by his own standards. Thursday night's RBI was his 44th in 41 games. Over his last 43 games before Thursday, Pujols was batting .399 with a .492 on-base percentage, an .804 slugging percentage and 32 extra-base hits. He has at least one extra-base hit in six straight games.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.