|4:10 PM PT5:10 PM MT6:10 PM CT7:10 PM ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 PM MST6:10 PM EST6:40 PM VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 PM CT, May 7, 2019
Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan Attendance: 14,169
Pujols eyes 2,000th RBI when Angels face Tigers
It may take only one at-bat Tuesday night for Albert Pujols to overshadow his manager's return to Detroit.
Pujols will look to pick up the 2,000th RBI of his Hall of Fame-bound career Tuesday night, when the Los Angeles Angels visit the Detroit Tigers in the opener of a three-game series.
Both teams were off Monday after eventful games Sunday. Brandon Dixon hit a walk-off three-run homer in the 10th inning to lift the host Tigers past the Kansas City Royals 5-2. The Angels absorbed the final loss of a two-game series sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros by falling 10-4 in Monterrey, Mexico.
Angels rookie right-hander Griffin Canning (0-0, 6.23 ERA) will make his second big-league start when he opposes Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris (1-0, 3.47 ERA).
Pujols is hitless in five at-bats since recording his 1,999th RBI with a solo homer in the sixth inning Saturday. He is looking to become just the fifth player in history to reach 2,000 RBIs, and the third since 1920, when the RBI became an official statistic. Hank Aaron ranks first with 2,297 RBIs while Alex Rodriguez, the most recent player to reach the milestone, is third with 2,086 RBIs. Babe Ruth, who recorded 224 of his 2,214 RBIs prior to 1920, ranks second while Cap Anson, who collected all 2,075 of his RBIs in the 19th century, is fourth.
"A lot of guys have been on base for me," Pujols told the Southern California News Group earlier this season. "It's something you don't accomplish by yourself. You have to have a lot of pieces that have to go right, and I've been able to have that my whole career."
With one more RBI, Pujols will join Aaron and Rodriguez as the only players in history with 3,000 hits, 2,000 RBIs and 600 homers. Pujols joined the 600-homer club in 2017 and the 3,000-hit club last year.
The series opener Tuesday will mark Angels manager Brad Ausmus' first game in Detroit since his four-year tenure as Tigers manager ended following the 2017 season.
The Tigers won the American League Central title in Ausmus' first season as manager in 2014 but never made the playoffs again and were 30 games under .500 the next three seasons. The team announced in September 2017 it would not offer Ausmus a new contract once his deal expired after the season. Ausmus spent last year in the Angels' front office before being named the successor to Mike Scioscia in October.
The Tigers were one of six teams to change managers following the 2017 season, but the only one that went with experience in the dugout by hiring Ron Gardenhire, who managed the Minnesota Twins to the playoffs six times from 2002-14.
The Tigers went 64-98 last season and are off to an up-and-down 15-16 start this year. Detroit has alternated narrow wins with lopsided losses in its last five games and bounced back Sunday from a 15-3 loss on Saturday.
"You can't carry stuff like Saturday's game with you, even though you know when you get to the park the next day, you remember what happened," Gardenhire told reporters Sunday. "But once this game starts, that's over with. We play a lot of baseball games in a row and you have to be able to forget. Short memory. That's what these guys did today."
Canning, a second-round pick of the Angels in 2017 out of UCLA, debuted in the majors on April 30 and didn't factor into the decision after allowing three runs over 4 1/3 innings as Los Angeles edged the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3.
Norris didn't factor into the decision in his most recent start Wednesday, when he gave up one run over five innings in the Tigers' 7-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. He is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two career starts against the Angels.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 7, 2019