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OC Register: Albert Pujols homers, gets curtain call, but Angels lose another in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS — So far Albert Pujols’ return weekend to St. Louis is working out pretty well … for Cardinals fans.

Two games into the three-game series, fans have packed Busch Stadium to honor Pujols at every opportunity, and on Saturday they even got the chance to give him a standing ovation after he hit a home run.

They’ve also seen the Cardinals win twice, as Pujols’ homer not enough for the Angels in their 4-2 loss.

Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols hits a home run during seventh inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Saturday, June 22, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

The Angels wasted a bases-loaded opportunity in the third, and otherwise barely made a peep against Cardinals right-hander Dakota Hudson.

After two scoreless innings from opener Noé Ramírez, Félix Peña gave up two runs in the fifth, thanks to his own throwing error on a bunt. Peña gave up two more on a homer by Marcell Ozuna in the sixth.

So Hudson had a 4-0 lead when Pujols led off the seventh, getting the same long, standing ovation as he’d received before each of his five previous plate appearances in the series.

Hudson fell behind 2-and-1 and then threw a 93 mph fastball over the inner half of the plate, belt high, and Pujols drove it over the left-field fence. The crowd of 46,711 came to its feet as the ball was in the air and applauded him all the way around the bases.

After Pujols reached the dugout, he got a hug from Mike Trout and then stepped back on to the field and waved to the crowd, a rare road curtain call.

Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, left, gets a hug from teammate Mike Trout, right, after hitting a home run during seventh inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Saturday, June 22, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

As great as that moment was for Pujols and the Cardinals fans, it wasn’t enough to get the Angels a victory.

Their only other run came on a Justin Upton homer against Jordan Hicks in the eighth, Upton’s third in five starts since coming off the injured list.

The Angels couldn’t overcome the deficit left by Peña, whose own error proved costly. In the fifth inning of a scoreless game, Peña popped off the mound to field a bunt by Hudson. He had time to get a force at third, but he threw the ball away and two runs scored.

More to come on this story.

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