CHICAGO – For fans of the last generation of the Cubs, there was a time when he would often cause a lot of pain for the franchise.
From 2001 through 2011, Albert Pujols would have a number of great performances against the Cubs as a member of the rival Cardinals. Both teams would be competing for the top of the National League Central division and the 11-time All-Star always seemed to make an impact.
Perhaps those memories faded a bit when Pujols spent ten seasons on the West Coast – 9 1/4 campaigns with the Angels before 85 games in 2021 with the Dodgers. But a reminder of what the first baseman has done to the Cubs through the years was brought back on Monday night at Wrigley Field.
With Drew Smyly pitching arguably his best game in 2022, it was Pujols who wrecked it in the seventh inning with a solo homer to provide the only run the Cardinals would need.
St. Louis starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery would toss a complete game shutout of the Cubs in a 1-0 victory to begin the five-game series at Wrigley Field.
Pujols’ latest moment against the Cubs was at the expense of Smyly, who allowed just the one run over seven innings of work with six strikeouts compared to two walks in his longest outing of the year. It continues his strong August where he’s got an ERA of 1.13 in 24 innings over four starts.
But it was the Cubs’ longtime nemesis that wrecked it, and in the process, Smyly became the 449th pitcher to surrender a homer to Pujols, who now has 693 in his final season in Major League Baseball. Former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster has allowed the most homers to the first baseman with eight while another former north side starter, Carlos Zambrano, has surrendered five.
It was Pujols’ 58 homer against the Cubs in his career, the second-most only behind the Astros, and his 30th at Wrigley Field.