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Cardinals playoff rise comes as Pujols, Molina and Wainwright make history

Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals acknowledges a standing ovation by fans as he comes up to bat during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on April 7, 2022
Scott Kane
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Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals acknowledges a standing ovation by fans as he comes up to bat during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Opening Day at Busch Stadium on April 7.

The St. Louis Cardinals might as well be playing on a field of dreams. Their 2022 season is already that magical, with Albert Pujols approaching his goal of achieving 700 career home runs — a mark reached only by greats Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.

Pujols has had an incredibly impressive season, St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports columnist Benjamin Hochman told St. Louis on the Air.

“It's not like he's hitting a homer when the Cardinals are up 10-1 against the Reds in the eighth inning,” Hochman said. “These are game-swaying home runs that are important to the Cardinals. He’s clutch.”

Hochman’s best guess for when Pujols will make his home run goal of 700 is Sept. 21. “Mark it on your calendar now, my friend. That's when it'll happen.”

What to watch for as the Cardinals soar toward the playoffs

Pujols is not the only player making a mark in the baseball history books this season — Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina have now started more games as a battery than any duo in the history of Major League Baseball.

“It's a beautiful symmetry; the two have become great friends,” Hochman said. “This kid from Georgia and this kid from Puerto Rico have become eternal St. Louisans, and they are part of our culture. They kind of infuse our souls with this idea that baseball can be bigger than just a game.”

Hochman joined Friday’s St. Louis on the Air to discuss the Cardinals’ performance this season and the team’s lead in the National League Central.

“The fact is the Cardinals will most likely make the playoffs as the division winner,” he said.

The Cardinals face off against the Cincinnati Reds at 7:15 tonight.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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