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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — After 17 seasons in the big leagues, Albert Pujols already knows how to navigate every peak and valley a hitter can encounter.
When he followed up an ugly five-game hitless stretch with six hits and three homers in the past two games, nobody around the Los Angeles Angels was remotely surprised their slugger found his way back.
Pujols hit a three-run homer and a two-run double, and the Angels snapped the Philadelphia Phillies' five-game winning streak with a 7-1 victory Tuesday night.
Pujols followed up his go-ahead double off Aaron Nola (8-7) in the fifth inning with his 608th career homer in the seventh off reliever Mark Leiter. The slugger is one homer behind Sammy Sosa for eighth place in baseball history.
"This game gives to you and takes away, too," Pujols said. "If you go out there and get a base hit every time or get a zero every time, I don't think this game would be fun. The thing about this game is it challenges you, and you get mentally stronger."
Pujols went 3 for 28 on the Angels' road trip last week, and his first of two homers last Sunday in Toronto snapped a season-worst hitless drought of 24 at-bats. The three-time NL MVP was right back on track against Philadelphia in the Halos' return for a nine-game homestand.
"He had a tough beginning of that road trip, but this is what Albert can do," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "When he gets locked in and he's not missing pitches, he can put a team on his shoulders and carry them."
Pujols went 3 for 4 in his 23rd career game with at least five RBIs. That's the 11th-most in history, tied with Barry Bonds and Cecil Fielder.
"I wish that Scioscia gave Pujols the night off, because he did some damage," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
Tommy Joseph drove in the only run in the first inning for the Phillies, who failed to match their longest winning streak of the season in the opener of an eight-game road trip.
Mike Trout went 2 for 4 and scored two runs in his fifth career game against the team that was his favorite while growing up in southern New Jersey. The two-time AL MVP doubled his career hit total against the Phillies, improving to 4 for 21.
A rare summer rainstorm in Orange County wiped out batting practice, but the skies were dry when Nola and Ricky Nolasco (5-12) went to work.
Nolasco pitched six innings of one-run ball for the Angels, earning his first victory in a month.
"It was one of those days when it was a grind," Nolasco said.
Nola yielded eight hits over six innings in just his second loss since mid-June. He didn't give up a run until he walked Trout and gave up Pujols' double to the opposite field.
"It was a mistake," said Nola, who also gave up a third-inning single to Pujols. "He's a veteran guy. He's going to hit mistakes. I didn't make my pitches to him."
The Angels got two-out singles in four consecutive innings against Nola, but couldn't score until Pujols' big hit.
Pujols then volleyed his 17th homer of the season to left after Kaleb Cowart and Trout singled.
Right-hander Drew Anderson became the 11th player to make his big-league debut for Philadelphia this season when he pitched the eighth inning. He yielded two hits and two runs, but also struck out Trout.
Angels: Escobar left in the eighth inning with tightness in his back. He'll be re-evaluated Wednesday. ... Huston Street has a mild rotator cuff strain in his right shoulder, and he won't throw until he feels better. He has been out for four weeks with a groin injury and has pitched only four innings this season. ... RF Kole Calhoun sat out with a sore right hamstring after getting hurt while running the bases Sunday. The injury isn't thought to be serious. ... LF Cameron Maybin is running the bases. He hasn't started a rehab assignment for his sprained knee.
Phillies: RHP Jake Thompson (1-0, 4.50 ERA) takes traded Jeremy Hellickson's spot in the rotation. He pitched five scoreless innings against Atlanta last week in his season debut.
Angels: Former Phillies right-hander J.C. Ramirez (9-9, 4.29 ERA) struggled in his last start at Cleveland. He pitched 24 games for Philadelphia in 2013.
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