Pujols passed the Babe in the ninth inning on Saturday night with a solo homer to center field off Anthony Swarzak, though the Angels lost to the Seattle Mariners 6-5.
The Angel Stadium crowd gave a standing ovation to Pujols, who acknowledged the cheers on second base with a wave of his helmet.
"It's pretty special," Pujols said. "You're talking about -- if not the best, then one of the best -- hitters to ever play this game. ... It would have been even sweeter if we would have come out with a win, but unfortunately it didn't happen."
Pujols only passed Ruth according to baseball's official starting point for the mark. RBIs weren't an official statistic until 1920 -- Ruth's first year with the Yankees, though his career began in 1914 with the Boston Red Sox.
Pujols is also closing in on Lou Gehrig (1,994) and Barry Bonds (1,996) on the career RBIs chart. Hank Aaron (2,297) and Alex Rodriguez (2,086) lead the list.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.