Pujols recalls three-homer game in Series

Pujols recalls three-homer game in Series

Pujols recalls three-homer game in Series
ARLINGTON -- Scattered in the garage of Albert Pujols' recently purchased home in Orange County, Calif., are artifacts of a better time at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Back in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series, Pujols was on top of the world here, hitting three home runs, notching five hits and amassing more total bases (14) than any man in World Series history en route to a thrilling championship run with the Cardinals.

From that night, Pujols still has the uniform, the bat, the helmet and, somewhere in his mind, the memories.

"You feel like Josh [Hamilton] did the other day, where anything you could throw him, the guy was going to hit it out of the park," Pujols said Friday, citing the Tuesday-night game that saw the Rangers' outfielder homer four times against the Orioles. "You have those nights. I'm still waiting this year to get one of those nights."

Pujols chuckled a bit when saying that. But very little is funny about his mystifying slump, which has now carried over into week five of his time with the Angels.

After four meek at-bats in a 10-3 loss to the Rangers on Friday night, Pujols -- serving as the designated hitter for the second time this season on Saturday -- finds himself batting .192 with a homer and 11 RBIs through 32 games. Entering Saturday, He has one multihit game since April 19, hasn't drawn a walk in his last 14 contests and has the second-lowest OPS in the Majors among those with at least 130 plate appearances.

"Every time he feels like he's inching closer and feeling more comfortable," manager Mike Scioscia said, "he's taking a half-step back."

Pujols' motto, cliché as it might sound: Never get too high or too low.

The minute after he joined two other players in World Series history last October (Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson), he swears, all he immediately thought of was the next game.

"Right away, man," he said. "And I'm not lying to you. I went to the hotel, I grabbed a late dinner because I had my wife and son here, I went to bed late, and I remember Reggie left me a message and everything. I didn't even get his message until the next day. It wasn't until after the Series was over that I was like, 'Wow, that was pretty cool.'"

That's his approach now -- don't dwell on the past, just keep moving forward.

Somewhere down the road, he believes, the slump will rid itself.

"When you're high, they want to praise you and they want to tell you you're the best," Pujols said. "When you struggle, you all of a sudden [stink]. So how can you go from being one of the best to [stinking]? That doesn't have any explanation. That's why I don't like to get too caught up in that.

"It's almost like you know who your real friends are when you go through some tough times. That's how I look at it."