Debuting for the boys in blue, Albert Pujols goes 1-4 at the plate with a strikeout and an RBI in a 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks. A solo home run from Will Smith in the 2nd inning and an RBI single from Gavin Lux in the 8th helped support Walker Buehler‘s strong start of seven innings of one-hit ball. After Víctor González allowed some traffic and a run in the 8th, Kenley Jansen came in and got a four out save.
Talking with Dodgers reporters after the game about his debut, Albert Pujols said that, “It was pretty awesome. Really high-pumped energy by the fans. I was really excited to take that field and to contribute tonight for the ballclub.
Dave Roberts on Pujols’ presence in the dugout, “Pretty surreal. To see him in our dugout in our uniform, pretty surreal. But it fit, and it looked normal. The players are really excited, and I know he was really excited. It was like a 13-year-old playing his first Little League game.”
Prior to the game, Pujols and Dodgers brass took questions from the media explaining the fit between the defending champs and the 41-year-old slugger. “I told them I’m here to do whatever. Pitch hit, first base, whatever they want. I think at the end of the day, I’m just excited to have the opportunity to wear this uniform.” President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman told the media that “We walked through the scenarios and talked through it and listened to him and didn’t want to be a used car salesman to get him to come here. We wanted to be genuine and treat him with the respect we feel like he deserves and let him make a decision.”
“I feel like I’ve still got some gasoline left in my tank,” Pujols said during his introductory press conference. With Pujols starting at first base again tonight and a handful of starting players still healing from injuries, the Dodgers will see just how far that gasoline can take them.