Pujols blooped a fly ball single to short right field in the third inning, then grounded a single to left field in the fifth inning, leaving for pinch-runner Billy McKinney after the latter hit.
At 41 years, 268 days old, Pujols is the oldest Dodgers player to get a hit in a postseason, and the oldest Dodger to have a multi-hit game playoff contest.
Manny Mota was 40 years, 230 days old in Game 3 of the 1978 NLCS, the previous oldest Dodger with a postseason hit. Rick Dempsey, at 39 years, 27 days old in Game 5 of the 1988 NLCS, was the oldest Dodger with a two-hit postseason game before Pujols.
In major league history, only two players older than Pujols have had multi-hit games. Julio Franco had five such games at age 43 in 2001, and Pete Rose had four multi-hit games in 1983.
The problem for the Dodger was that Pujols had the only two hits off Giants starter Alex Wood, against whom the rest of the team was hitless in 13 at-bats, with two walks. Through the first three games of the NLDS, the Dodgers have started three different players at first base: Matt Beaty in Game 1, Cody Bellinger in Game 2, and Pujols in Game 3.
Facing left-handed pitching has been Pujols’ main role since joining the Dodgers in May, and he’s excelled at it, hitting .303/.347/.606 with 10 home runs and a 149 wRC+ against southpaws with Los Angeles.
But after being an everyday player for over 20 years, Pujols’ role with the Dodgers has been more specialized, something the Dodgers discussed with him from the start.
“One of the hardest things to do is manage a guy that was a once superstar, and the skill set isn’t what it used to be. Not to say that he can’t really contribute — and clearly Albert has,” manager Dave Roberts said Monday. “Early on, the conversation that Andrew [Friedman] and I had with Albert, as far as really not knowing how this was going to play out, whether he is on the playoff roster with us or he doesn’t finish the season with us, there’s a lot of different ways it could have played out.”
Pujols started 27 of his first 60 games with the Dodgers, with various injuries opening up playing time. But as the team got healthier he was relegated to mostly pinch-hitting duty, starting just 10 times over the final 62 games.
“I love this organization. I love everything they’ve offered to me over the last four months. From the leadership from the top, to the bottom and the guys in the clubhouse, it’s just been amazing,” Pujols said. “Hopefully it’s not done tomorrow. Hopefully we can and push this thing out to Thursday, and advance to the next round.”