Albert Pujols Is Smarter Than Chase Utley, Even

Albert Pujols is great.

You knew that already. But you might have merely known that Albert Pujols is a great hitter. Which he is.

But Albert Pujols is also a great baserunner. While he's not a fast baserunner, every season he gains a few bases here and a few bases there with his intelligent running.

Pujols is also a great fielder. He's won two Gold Gloves, including in 2010, but has probably deserved at least four and probably more.

Just now, Pujols made an absolutely brilliant play that may well have saved the Cardinals a run and preserved their slim lead in this game they simply must win.

Chase Utley led off the top of the sixth with a walk. With a full count to Hunter Pence, Utley ran on the next pitch, which Pence grounded to shortstop. It would have been a close play at first base, but Pence would have been out by a step or two. Except he wasn't. Because Utley never stopped running, and Pujols eschewed the easy out, instead coming off the bag to grab the throw and fire to third base to nail Utley from here to there.



Had Pujols taken the free out, Utley would likely have scored the tying run eventually. Instead, the Phillies got nothing when Ryan Howard flew out to center and Shane Victorino grounded to second.

Albert Pujols's hitting statistics will perpetually bedazzle. But there's a lot more to him than those gaudy stats.

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