ANAHEIM — Angels slugger Albert Pujols doesn’t have the speed he once had, but it doesn’t mean the 21-year veteran doesn’t have the instincts to make a heads-up play on the bases.
Pujols helped spark a rally by stealing third base as part of a double steal off Rangers right-hander Kyle Cody as part of a four-run seventh inning in Monday night’s 6-4 loss to the Rangers at Angel Stadium. Pujols noticed that nobody was paying attention to him at second base and promptly broke for third and reached without a throw, giving him his first stolen base since Aug. 19, 2019.
The double steal paid immediate dividends, as Kurt Suzuki roped a single into right field to bring home Pujols, while José Iglesias was held up at third. But three pitches later, Cody uncorked a wild pitch that scored Iglesias and allowed Suzuki to get to second. It made it a two-run game for the Angels, as they tried to claw back from a 6-0 deficit.
Surprisingly, Pujols has had success stealing bases with the Angels in recent years, as he knows when to pick his spots despite consistently being ranked among the slowest players in the Majors by Statcast’s Sprint Speed metric. In fact, the 10-time All-Star has stolen 13 straight bases without being caught, dating back to Sept. 19, 2015.
But it was still a rarity for a player of Pujols’ age to steal a base. He became the oldest player to swipe a bag since Ichiro Suzuki, who did it with the Marlins on July 17, 2016 against the Cardinals when he was 42 years, 269 days old.
At 41 years, 94 days old, Pujols also became the oldest player to steal a base while playing first base in a game since Julio Franco in 2007. And he’s only one of three Angels to steal a base after turning 41, joining Raúl Ibañez and Eddie Murray.