The wait is over! Albert Pujols hits a home run

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The wait is over! Albert Pujols hits a home run

From Comcast SportsNet
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- That day off sure did Albert Pujols some good. The 240 million slugger finally hit a home run for the Los Angeles Angels, ending the longest power drought of his career Sunday in a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Pujols connected in the fifth inning for a two-run shot, his first AL homer and the 446th overall. He didn't play in Saturday night's victory after Angels manager Mike Scioscia kept him out of the lineup for the first time this season. "I don't think anything's been lifted off my shoulders, man," said Pujols, who did not come out for a curtain call. "I don't think about what you guys write or what you think. I know what I'm capable of doing, and I come out here every day and try to get myself ready for the game and give 110 percent to this team and to this organization. And if I do that, there's nothing to be sorry about." Pujols circled the bases without showing much emotion -- same as he did so many times with the St. Louis Cardinals. But when he returned to the dugout, he had it all to himself. There was nobody home. No players, no coaches, no batboys. Pujols' teammates gave him the ol' silent treatment, a plot hatched by Torii Hunter. They were all waiting for the slugger in the tunnel leading to the clubhouse. Then, a burst of euphoria and they were all back on the bench, high-fiving and slapping him all over his body. "I thought that would be cool. I always wanted to do that, and it worked," Hunter said. "I just said: Let's get off the bench and go to the tunnel.' He was excited about it and we were, too. We had to think fast. When I have a day off, man, I do stupid stuff." Pujols had gone 33 games and 139 at-bats dating to last year without a home run in the regular season. The three-time NL MVP had a three-homer game for the Cardinals in the World Series and hit seven home runs in spring training. Pujols drove a 2-2 pitch from rookie right-hander Drew Hutchison (1-1) into the left-field bullpen. Mike Trout doubled one out before the home run. Pujols homered in his 28th game and 111th at-bat with the Angels, who signed him to a 10-year, 240 million contract as a free agent in December, touching off a frenzy that resulted in more than 5,000 extra season tickets being sold. This was his first home run at Angel Stadium, the 31st big league ballpark in which he's hit one. "The last three weeks here, the fans have wanted to see it, and I'm blessed that I got the opportunity to do it here in front of them," Pujols said with a trace of a grin. "They've been waiting and they've been impatient, and the last couple of days I heard some boos out there, but that's part of it. I touched on that the other day. If I could boo myself, I'd do it myself, too. "But don't blame the fans. If you want to blame somebody, blame me because I'm a big guy and I can take it. I'm not performing the way everybody's expecting, but the season isn't only 27 games. You play 162 games, and they're going to cheer us more than they're going to boo us." The home run drew a reaction far away, too. Several of his former St. Louis teammates were watching on television in the clubhouse after a win at Houston, and they clapped and cheered loudly when Pujols connected on Hutchison's slider. "My slider was pretty effective today, other than the one I hung to him," Hutchison said. "I was trying to bounce it in the dirt and I didn't execute it. When you don't execute your pitches, things like that happen." Pujols had not homered in the regular season since Sept. 22. He began the game batting .194 with five RBIs. His longest homer drought prior to this was in 2011, when he came up empty in 27 straight games and 105 at-bats. Previously, his longest home run drought at the start of a season was in 2008, when he failed to hit one in his first eight games and 27 at-bats. "Man, it's a relief for him and I'm pretty sure it's a relief for us," Hunter said. "We don't have to hear about Albert having a goose egg no more. I'm happy that he got this lifted off of him. Now he can go out there and just swing the bat and have fun." Jerome Williams (3-1) allowed three runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander gave up an unearned run in the seventh after Pujols -- a two-time Gold Glove winner -- committed his first error of the season with a bad throw to second. Angels lefty Scott Downs injured himself trying to avoid a line-drive single through the box by J.P. Arencibia with one out in the ninth and was replaced by LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins turned Omar Vizquel's line drive into a game-ending double play for his first save with the Angels.

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Jimenez tries to complete four-game sweep of Nats

Jimenez tries to complete four-game sweep of Nats

Tonight's Game:

Baltimore Orioles (70-56) vs. Washington Nationals (73-53), Nationals Park, Washington, D.C. 7:05 p.m.  

Starting pitchers:

Ubaldo Jimenez (5-10, 6.94) vs. Max Scherzer (13-7, 3.05)

Keys to the Game:

Can the Orioles win four straight against the team with the second-best record in the National League? They're one game behind Toronto and Boston for the AL East lead.

Can Jimenez continue his success against the Nationals? He's 6-1 with a 2.32 ERA in eight starts and 4-0 with an 0.92 ERA at Nationals Park.

News and Notes:

Scherzer is 4-2 with a 3.81 ERA in eight starts against the Orioles.

Adam Jones is 11-for-25 (.440) with three home runs against Scherzer. Manny Machado is 1-for-15 (.067) with a home run. 

Zach Britton allowed his first earned run since Apr. 30, but he still has his streak of 38 consecutive saves intact.

The Orioles could make another roster move. Parker Bridwell could be sent down and another reiiever brought up.

RELATED: MILEY GETS 1ST WIN AS ORIOLE

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Redskins Playbook: Watching for the Stork as practice moves locations

Redskins Playbook: Watching for the Stork as practice moves locations

Thursday the Redskins will take their show on the road, as the team will do their walk-through before the Bills game in front of military personnel at Joint Base Andrews. With Wednesday's whirlwind pursuit of Bryan Stork still somewhat fluid, there will be plenty to watch.

  1. Stork reactions - Players will likely speak sparingly Thursday following their walk-through session but the big question will be about the the former Patriots center. Where does he fit and how do the current players fit in with Stork will dominate the discussion.
  2. Getting specific - So what happens now at the center position? Is Stork a move for depth or to compete with Kory Lichtensteiger as the starting center? What does this mean for Spencer Long, or even more, Josh LeRibeus?
  3. Focus on the game - Despite all the noise surrounding the Stork trade, Washington has a game to play Friday night. A preseason game, yes, but the third preseason game where expectations are starters will play the first half. This is the most important - and for some only - live action before Week 1 against the Steelers. The Skins need to be ready.

Stay tuned all day for updates from @JPFinlayCSN.

RELATED: MONEY MATTERS IN STORK RETIREMENT TALK

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WR Perriman hopes to impress not only with speed, but with hands

WR Perriman hopes to impress not only with speed, but with hands

OWINGS MILLS - People often call Breshad Perriman fast. They don’t always call Perriman sure-handed.

However, criticism of Perriman’s hands may be a thing of the past, according to Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. One of the few knocks on Perriman entering the 2015 draft was that he sometimes dropped catchable balls due to a lack of concentration. However, the Ravens’ second-year wide receiver has worked hard on catching the ball consistently, even when he wasn’t able to run during his recovery from two knee injuries.

Now Perriman finally seems close to making his Ravens debut. When that happens, Trestman said he expected to see a receiver not only with impressive speed, but reliable hands.

“I think his hands and concentration have even got better since he first got here,” Trestman said. “He is much more sure-handed – not that he wasn’t – but he has become even more sure-handed. I think that goes with confidence. He just needs to get out and play and run routes and do it consistently and get some reps. He just needs reps. He has go-to speed, and he has size to go with it. It is a unique package.”

A package the Ravens are eager to unwrap.

RELATED: WHO WILL GRAB HOLD OF RAVENS KICK RETURN JOB