ST. LOUIS -- If it's August, Albert Pujols must be making a run. If the opposing pitcher is Ryan Dempster, and it's August, forget it.
Pujols hit his 30th home run of the season off Dempster in the Cardinals' 9-7 loss on Sunday, extending his own Major League record of 30-homer seasons to begin a career. It is his 10th 30-homer campaign in as many years. He's well on his way to matching it with a .300 batting average and 100 RBIs, just as he's also done in each of his previous nine seasons.
"Of the three things that he's the most famous for, which are 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and .300, [home runs are] the least remarkable thing about Albert," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's a line-drive hitter who hits home runs. He hits 30 line drives that go out of the park. The most remarkable thing about him is that over 162 games, he hits .300 and drives in 100 runs."
With two outs in the bottom of the first inning on Sunday, Pujols jumped an 0-1 slider from Dempster and deposited it over the wall in center field. He has 396 homers in his big league career, tying him with Joe Carter for 50th on the all-time list.
"I don't know how long he has to play to be one of the greatest that's ever played this game, but he's certainly going to be in the conversation," La Russa said. "He is for the first 10 years."
In seven of his 10 seasons, Pujols has hit homer No. 30 in August. It's been the most productive month throughout his career, as Pujols has his highest batting average, second-highest on-base percentage, highest slugging percentage and most home runs in August. He has six homers in 12 games this August.
The jack was his sixth off Dempster, equaling former Astros and Cubs hurler Wade Miller as the pitcher to allow the most long balls to the three-time MVP.
Pujols' 30th homer also pulled him to within one of the National League lead, held by Washington's Adam Dunn. He leads the NL in RBIs with 86.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.