For all talented players in their primes throughout the Dodgers’ lineup, a relentless barrage of firepower when the machine is rolling, there was nobody better for the most important at-bat Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies than the hulking, 41-year-old man who dawdled off the bench in the 10th inning.
Gavin Lux, the go-ahead run, stood at second base when Albert Pujols stepped into the batter’s box to face Jhoulys Chacín. The matchup wasn’t ideal — right-handed hitter against right-hander — but that was irrelevant. Pujols, nearing the end of his 21st major-league season, understood the assignment as a pinch-hitter in the thick of his first pennant race in seven years. Find a hole, anywhere, for his 2,150th career RBI and 38th in 78 games as a Dodger.
The future Hall of Famer needed two pitches. Pujols took the first, a curveball, for a strike. He cracked the second one, a slider, up the middle. The groundball squeaked through the infield, allowing Lux to race around to score in the Dodgers’ 5-4 win at Coors Field.
“In that situation, sometimes you think you have to hit the ball out of the ballpark and you don’t,” Pujols said. “You just have to have a good at-bat and just put the ball in play and hopefully get a base hit. And that’s it.”
The victory ensured that the Dodgers (97-54) would not lose ground on the San Francisco Giants in…