Friday’s Sports In Brief
LOS ANGELES (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th home run, connecting for his second drive of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and becoming the fourth player to reach the milestone in major league history.
With the drive in the final days of his last big league season, the 42-year-old Pujols joined Barry Bonds (762 homers), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs.
Showing the pop from his younger, dominant days, the 42-year-old Pujols hit No. 699 against starter Andrew Heaney in the third inning, then launched No. 700 against reliever Phil Bickford in the fourth.
The Cardinals routed the NL West champion Dodgers 11-0.
A man wearing a blue Dodgers shirt with Hideo Nomo’s No. 16 on the back snagged the 700th homer ball. He was whisked under the stands as he clutched a black glove containing the historic souvenir ball to his chest. Prolonged negotiations went on before the man was escorted out of Dodger Stadium flanked by 10 security personnel and into a waiting SUV.
A 37-year-old Los Angeles man, Cesar Soriano, snagged No. 699. He turned the ball over to security after being told he could meet Pujols.
Pujols has 14 home runs since the start of August for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, and 21 for the season.
NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge was held without a homer for the third straight game, keeping him at 60 for the season and one shy of Roger Maris’ American League record, and the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4.
Jose Trevino singled home the tiebreaking run with two outs in the eighth inning, and the first-place Yankees reduced their magic number to five for clinching the AL East title.
With four of Maris’ children in the ballpark again, Judge went 1 for 4 with a sharp single. He struck out twice and lofted a high fly to left field that excited the sellout crowd of 47,346 for a second or two.
The slugger has two games left to match Maris on New York’s current homestand — Saturday afternoon and Sunday night versus the rival Red Sox. After that, the Yankees head to Toronto and have just three home games remaining, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 against Baltimore.
Since connecting for No. 60 on Tuesday night against Pittsburgh, the closest Judge has come to equaling Maris’ 1961 mark was a 404-foot drive caught just in front of the center field fence Thursday night.
LONDON (AP) — Roger Federer wrapped up his superlative professional tennis career at age 41 with a loss in doubles alongside longtime rival Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup.
Federer, who won 20 Grand Slam titles, and Nadal, whose 22 are the men’s record, paired up for Team Europe and were beaten by Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock of Team World 4-6, 7-6 (2), 11-9 at the O2 Arena.
Federer announced last week that this team event founded by his management company would be his final event before retirement, then made clear the doubles outing would be his last match. Until Friday, he had not competed anywhere since a quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon in July 2021. Shortly after that, the Swiss star had a third operation on his right knee.
It was poetic that Federer would close things out by sharing a court with Nadal, who was often an on-court nemesis but became an off-court friend.
Before Federer, the men’s mark for most major tennis championships was 14 by Pete Sampras. Federer blew past that, accumulating eight at Wimbledon, six at the Australian Open, five at the U.S. Open and one at the French Open.
BOSTON (AP) — The reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics suspended coach Ime Udoka after a months-long investigation by an outside law firm that found multiple violations of team policies but did not point to a larger cultural problem of sexual misconduct, owner Wyc Grousbeck said Friday.
Neither Grousbeck nor president of basketball operations Brad Stevens would elaborate on the specifics of the violations or the private report that was delivered to the team two days ago. But a person with knowledge of the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the details were not made public, told The Associated Press that it involved an inappropriate relationship with a woman in the organization.
Udoka’s multiple violations involved one woman, a Celtics spokesman said Friday. No one else in the organization is facing discipline, Grousbeck said, adding that the team will be vigilant to make sure that Udoka’s actions aren’t a signal that there is a larger problem.
A first-year coach who is three months removed from a trip to the NBA Finals, Udoka was suspended less than a week before training camp was to open for a team considered among the favorites to win it all this season. Assistant Joe Mazzulla was elevated to interim coach through June 30, 2023; the Celtics say they have not decided about Udoka’s future beyond then.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The matches felt a little closer Friday in the Presidents Cup. And then Max Homa made two big putts that gave the Americans the same outcome.
In the third straight fourballs match that went the distance, Homa poured in a 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole for a 1-up lead. After Taylor Pendrith gave the International team hope with a birdie on the 18th hole, Homa matched him with another 12-foot birdie putt for the win.
That gave the Americans another session by a 4-1 margin, stretching their lead to 8-2 going into the weekend at Quail Hollow and making another U.S. victory in this one-sided affair start to look inevitable.
For the second straight time on home soil, the powerful American team goes into a double session on Saturday with a mathematical chance to win the cup.
DUSSELDORF, Germany (AP) — Daichi Kamada scored following Weston McKennie’s giveaway in the 24th minute, Kaoru Mitoma added a goal in the 88th, and Japan beat an lackluster and injury-depleted United States 2-0 in the Americans’ next-to-last World Cup warmup.
The Americans failed to get a single shot on goal, playing a dismal first half and showing only slightly more initiative after four changes at halftime. They have one win, five losses and four draws in 10 road games since a victory at Northern Ireland in March 2021, and just one goal in their last five away games.
U.S. star Christian Pulisic did not dress because of an unspecified injury. The 14th-ranked Americans already were without Tim Weah, Yunus Musah, Chris Richards, Antonee Robinson and Zack Steffen, and Miles Robinson will miss the World Cup because of a torn Achilles.