WASHINGTON -- Albert Pujols reached 500 homers in a hurry.
The Angels first baseman became the first major leaguer to hit his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, driving in five runs to help Los Angeles beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 Tuesday night.
The three-time NL MVP connected twice off Taylor Jordan (0-3) -- a three-run homer in the first inning and two-run drive in the fifth -- to become the 26th player in big league history to reach the milestone.
"It tastes better with a win," Pujols said. "I knew this year, it was going to happen, whether it was tonight, tomorrow, two months from now. So my goal was just to prepare myself every day to try to help this organization win."
Pujols is the first player to collect his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, according to STATS. About three months past his 34th birthday, he's also the third-youngest to get to 500; Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx were both 32.
Making a quick recent surge, Pujols has eight homers this season, all in the past 13 games. His five RBIs on Tuesday gave him the team lead with 19.
"The homers he's hit this year, they've been long ones. He's squaring balls up," Angels outfielder Mike Trout said. "That's the Albert I'm used to seeing. Full, healthy, 100 percent healthy."
The 500th homer went to left-center field at Nationals Park, on an 89 mph pitch with the count at 1-2.
"To have more than 19,000 players who wore a big league uniform and to have only 26 players to do this, it's pretty special," Pujols said.
Pujols clapped his hands together a few strides before trotting home, then pointed both index fingers to the sky. As soon as he touched the plate, Pujols was greeted by his Angels teammates, who streamed over from the visiting dugout.
"I was pretty emotional running the bases," Pujols said.
Fans gave Pujols a partial standing ovation, and he acknowledged the spectators by tipping his red batting helmet as he approached the dugout. After heading down the steps, he came back out for a curtain call.
After the game Pujols took to Twitter to thank the fans:
Thank you to all of my fans for the well wishes on my HR#500. I thank The Lord for you, & your support over the years. May God bless you all- Albert Pujols (@PujolsFive) April 23, 2014
In other at-bats Tuesday, Pujols struck out swinging in the second inning and grounded to shortstop in the seventh.
Tyler Skaggs (2-0) gave up two runs in seven innings for the win. Jordan allowed six runs and eight hits in five innings. Washington entered the game with a majors-worst 22 errors and third baseman Anthony Rendon added two to that total.
After a couple of down-for-him years with the Angels following 11 transcendent seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, a healthier Pujols appears ready to reclaim his spot among the game's elite hitters. He homered Friday and Saturday in games at the Detroit Tigers to lift his career total to 498, and now he's reached the round number of 500 -- a total that remains hallowed despite losing its luster in recent years because so many players have surpassed it.