It was hardly ideal timing for a 400th home run. For the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols, it happened in the fourth inning of a 13-inning, 11-10 loss to the last-place Nationals last night in Washington — and in a game in which he twisted his ankle trying to climb a rolled-up tarp.
The St. Louis slugger led off the fourth by sending an 0-1 fastball from starter Jordan Zimmermann into the right-center seats, becoming the 47th major leaguer to reach the milestone.
At 30 years, 222 days, Pujols became the third-youngest player to hit 400 homers. Alex Rodriguez hit No. 400 at 29 years, 316 days, and Ken Griffey Jr. reached the benchmark at 30 years, 141 days.
As soon as he completed his swing, Pujols stood and admired the shot. He was mobbed by teammates when he returned to the dugout after cutting the Nationals’ lead to 3-2. “It’s a special milestone,’’ Pujols said, “but I don’t play for numbers.’’
Pujols was more concerned about another loss in a slide that has hurt the Cardinals’ playoff chances, and about a right ankle that twisted the wrong way when he tried to plant his foot on the tarp to reach for a foul ball near the first base dugout in the 10th inning.
“It’s pretty sore right now,’’ Pujols said. “It was pretty scary. I tried to put my right leg on top of the tarp and slipped.’’
Pujols stayed in the game, but said he didn’t know if would be able to play tonight because the ankle could swell overnight.
White Sox 8, Orioles 0 — Edwin Jackson struck out 10 in eight dominant innings, Alex Rios hit a two-run homer, and host Chicago shut out Baltimore for its first series victory in three weeks.
Jackson allowed three hits and walked two, improving to 2-0 with a sparkling 0.96 ERA in four starts since he was acquired from Arizona July 30.
Astros 5, Phillies 1 — Wandy Rodriguez pitched seven sharp innings, Carlos Lee homered, and Houston completed its first four-game sweep in Philadelphia in 11 years.
Rodriguez (10-12) allowed one run and five hits, striking out six.
Diamondbacks 11, Padres 5 — Ian Kennedy struck out a career-high 12 in a combined four-hitter and Stephen Drew finished a torrid series by hitting a three-run homer and an RBI double as last-place Arizona pummeled host San Diego.
Kennedy (8-9) one-hit the Padres through seven shutout innings. After allowing Will Venable’s single with two outs in the fourth, he retired his final 10 batters, five by strikeout. The Padres trailed, 11-0, entering the eighth.
Marlins 11, Mets 4 — Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer and finished with three hits as Florida scored seven times in the sixth inning in coasting past host New York.
Rookie Logan Morrison reached base four times, including a two-run double during the Marlins’ big sixth inning, and scored three times while playing a solid left field.
Morrison’s father, Tom, diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer in April, was finally well enough this week to take a 29-hour train ride from his home in Louisiana to see his son play in the majors for the first time.
Indians 3, Athletics 2 — Matt LaPorta hit a go-ahead two-run homer to help Justin Masterson (5-12) win for only the second time in 10 starts, and host Cleveland topped Oakland to break a five-game losing streak.
The win came on “Puppypalooza Night,’’ a promotion in which fans bought tickets for their dogs. An Indians spokesman said 269 canines were among the crowd of 11,826 at Progressive Field.
Tigers 7, Blue Jays 1 — Jhonny Peralta and Gerald Laird homered as Max Scherzer became a 10-game winner for the first time in Detroit’s road win.
Dodgers 7, Brewers 1 — Casey Blake hit a two-run homer and six Los Angeles pitchers combined on a two-hitter in routing host Milwaukee for a three-game sweep.