In Albert Pujols' defense, he was playing hurt. The Los Angeles Angels slugger reportedly has a golf ball-sized swollen lymph gland in his groin. Unfortunately for Pujols though, the injury flared up at the worst possible time during Sunday's game against the Kansas City Royals.
The three-time NL MVP led off the sixth inning of a game the Royals led 4-3 with a line drive down the left-field line. It looked to be a surefire double for the nine-time All-Star. But Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon played it perfectly off the carom. The three-time Gold Glove Award winner then fired the ball to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who tossed it to second baseman Omar Infante to get Pujols by a step at second. It appeared the former Cardinals star wasn't hustling on the play. So why didn't he slide? Here's what Pujols told the Angels website:
"I think it was one of those things that when I saw the ball, I got my mind set to slide," Pujols said. "When I saw the ball tailing to the right, I kind of shut it down and that's when I felt it. I'm not looking for an excuse. I should've run all the way through the bag. Obviously, they made a good play."
The "it" Pujols was referring to was the gland issue. And the baserunning error proved to be a costly mistake. Two batters later, Erick Aybar launched a solo shot that would have been a two-run homer if Pujols hadn't been tagged out. The Royals went on to win 5-4.
Finally in WNBA news, Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner had a record 11 blocks in an 80-77 victory over the Tulsa Shock.