ANAHEIM -- Angels slugger Albert Pujols inched closer to joining one of Major League Baseball's most exclusive clubs after hitting the 599th home run of his career in Tuesday night's 9-3 Halos victory over the Braves at Angel Stadium.
Pujols hammered a three-run shot off Bartolo Colon to erase a two-run deficit and put the Halos in front, 3-2, in the third. After Eric Young Jr. and Kole Calhoun reached on a fielder's choice and an error, respectively, Pujols pounced on a 3-2 fastball from Colon, depositing it 410 feet over the left-field fence for his eighth homer of the season.
"I kind of missed on that one, and it kind of got away from me, to be honest," Colon said through an interpreter. "It got away from me right where he likes it, in the sweet spot, middle-in. I was going for the outside corner, and it got away from me. In the big leagues, you just can't throw a pitch out there; they'll make you pay every time."
Pujols' blast helped spark a nine-run inning for the Angels, who sent 14 men to the plate in a wild frame that featured six hits, a walk and three errors by the Braves. The 37-year-old veteran is now just one shy of becoming the ninth player in Major League history to reach 600.
Nine players in MLB history have reached 600 HRs.
1. Barry Bonds
2. Hank Aaron
3. Babe Ruth
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Willie Mays
6. Ken Griffey Jr.
7. Jim Thome
8. Sammy Sosa
9. Albert Pujols
Atlanta's woeful defense allowed Pujols to bat for a second time in the third, but he drew a walk in his first official shot at the milestone. Pujols received two more at-bats on Tuesday, but he flied out in the fifth and struck out in the eighth to keep his pursuit of 600 alive.
While Pujols is aware that he's closing in on a historic feat, he said chasing numbers is not his main priority.
"When I play the game during the season, it's hard for me to focus on what's in front of me," Pujols said. "I'm aware of the history, don't get me wrong, I respect that, but I think that's the kind of distraction that I don't want to bring into the game for me.
"Numbers are numbers, but my main goal is to try to win a championship and to try to do whatever I can to help this ballclub day in and day out."
Pujols will have to wait at least one more night to continue his trek to 600, but he did climb up the leaderboard in another notable category. With his homer off Colon, Pujols collected his 2,873rd career hit, tying him with Babe Ruth for 44th all-time.
"That's really pretty cool," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "To be able to witness that, we're all having a kick out of that."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.