Pujols launches seven homers in final minute to upset top-seed Schwarber in first round of HR Derby

National League's Albert Pujols, of the St. Louis Cardinals, celebrates at the end of his round...
National League's Albert Pujols, of the St. Louis Cardinals, celebrates at the end of his round during the MLB All-Star baseball Home Run Derby, Monday, July 18, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)(Mark J. Terrill | AP)
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 9:11 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - After mustering just 13 home runs in his turn at the Home Run Derby Monday night, Albert Pujols probably thought his experience participating in the Home Run Derby was completed.

In fact, Pujols seemed so ready to kick back and enjoy the rest of the event as a spectator that he had already given away his batting glove to a kid when it was time for him to step back into the batter’s box for a tiebreaking swing-off against Kyle Schwarber. The former Cub entered the event as the No. 1 seed, leading the eight-man bracket with 29 regular-season home runs in the first half of the year. Pujols, the No. 8 seed, came into his fifth and final Derby with just six home runs on the year.

As his round began, Pujols took some time to get into his groove. Several tweets speculated that Pujols should make a mid-contest pitching change, from Cardinals bullpen catcher Kleininger Teran to Brad Lidge⁠—a reference to Pujols’ majestic home run off the former Astros closer in the 2005 NLCS.

During the break between the initial three minutes and the bonus thirty seconds allotted to each player, all of the All-Stars gathered around Pujols to congratulate him and honor him on his many career achievements. The ESPN broadcast stated that Pujols’ Cardinals teammate Paul Goldschmidt indicated the moment was impromptu, not planned in advance by the other All-Stars.

Lo and behold, after both men completed their three minutes plus bonus time, they had both achieved the same score and would engage in an additional minute of dingers to break the tie.

So Pujols asked to borrow his batting gloves again from the kid to whom he had gifted them. He then went back out there and blasted off in style. Seven home runs in his final overtime minute seemed to put Pujols in pretty good shape.

Sure enough, Schwarber put together only six homers in his overtime round, ensuring Pujols would advance to the semifinal round. After falling short of Pujols’ total in the dramatic swing-off, Schwarber was nothing but classy in graciously congratulating Pujols on his win by repeatedly bowing before the two sluggers embraced.

Pujols put up a respectable showing in the second round by posting 15 home runs in his match-up against Juan Soto. Though it took Soto into his bonus time to do it, he ultimately defeated Pujols to advance to the final round against Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez.