Pujols drove home Andrelton Simmons with a double off Seattle's Yusei Kikuchi in the third inning Saturday night.
The Angel Stadium crowd gave a standing ovation to Pujols, who acknowledged the cheers on second base with a wave of his helmet.
Pujols only tied Ruth according to baseball's official starting point for the mark. RBIs weren't an official statistic until 1920, and Ruth's 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 RBI chart. Hank Aaron (2,297) and Alex Rodriguez (2,086) lead the list.