Pujols named NL Player of the Week
Cardinals' star's four homers, 11 RBIs add to stellar season
NEW YORK -- When Albert Pujols goes to Kansas City, good things happen. Pujols, who highlighted a typically productive week by scoring the 1,000th run of his Major League career, was named the National League Player of the Week presented by Bank of America for the period ending June 21. It was the second time this season Pujols has been so honored.
Pujols led the NL with a slugging percentage of 1.111, while stroking four homers and driving in 11 runs -- with the last two homers and six RBIs coming in one game, an eruption against the Royals on Sunday. Pujols has a long history of raking in Kansas City, where he attended high school and junior college. His outburst helped propel the Cardinals to a 5-1 week as the club began shaking its recent offensive doldrums.
"We just try to do whatever we can to win some games," Pujols said recently. "Some days we're going to get a bunch of hits. Sometimes we're not going to get hits. So I think that it's a long season, and you can't get frustrated about it. Just let everything click and hopefully execute whenever you can. But it's part of the game, man. You're going to go through a stretch where our pitching is going to do pretty well. You're going to go through some stretches where our offense is there. And you're going to go through some stretches where both are there and we're going to be successful."
The Majors' all-time leader in Interleague batting average (.349), Pujols led St. Louis' sweep in Kansas City with 10 RBIs in the three games. The slam was Pujols' third of the season and ninth of his career, both tying franchise records, the latter held by Hall of Famer Stan Musial. In Interleague Play this year, he's hitting .400 with a .563 on-base percentage, a 1.057 slugging percentage, seven home runs and 15 RBIs in 12 games.
"The same game plan that I have in the National League, I take the same plan [in Interleague Play]," Pujols said. "I try to execute out there, try to get my at-bats and make my adjustments, and hopefully it works. If it doesn't work, then try to figure out something that can work."
Pujols entered Monday leading the Major Leagues in several categories, including home runs (26) and RBIs (68), and he is also the NL's leading vote-getter for the July 14 All-Star Game in his home ballpark of Busch Stadium. According to the updated results announced earlier Monday, Pujols has garnered 2,934,794 votes.
Fellow Cardinal Khalil Greene, whose homers in three straight games highlighted his return from a stay on the disabled list for social anxiety, also received consideration for weekly honors.
Other candidates were Arizona's Justin Upton (.458), brother of the AL Player of the Week recipient, Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton; Atlanta's Nate McLouth (.308, two homers, seven RBIs); Cubs closer Kevin Gregg (2-0, one save, 0.00 ERA); Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips (.350); Colorado's Clint Barmes (.304, two home runs, seven RBIs); Florida's Josh Johnson (1-0, 1.29 ERA); Houston's Jose Valverde (three saves, 0.00 ERA); Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 13 strikeouts); Milwaukee's Prince Fielder (.391, two home runs, 11 RBIs); Mets catcher Brian Schneider (.357, two homers, eight RBIs); Philadelphia's Shane Victorino (.526); Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen (.345, three triples); San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval (.455); and Washington's Nick Johnson (.381).
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.