BASEBALL

ST. LOUIS (AP)Albert Pujols hit his 698th home run, a two-run drive that pulled St Louis into a sixth-inning tie with Cincinnati in the Cardinals’ 6-5 victory Friday night.

The 42-year-old Pujols hit a first-pitch slider from Raynel Espinal 427 feet into the left-field stands for his 19th home run of the season, tying it at 4.

Pujols trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) on the career list. With 2,203 RBIs, Pujols moved within 11 of Ruth for second, behind Aaron’s 2,297.

Pujols has hit 15 home runs in 47 games since July 10 in his 22nd major league season. He intends to retire at the end of the season. St. Louis has 17 games remaining.

DENVER (AP) – John Stearns, a four-time All-Star catcher with the New York Mets, died after a long battle with cancer. He was 71.

Stearns, who played football and baseball at the University of Colorado, died Thursday night in Denver, according to the Mets.

BASKETBALL

PHOENIX (AP) – PayPal said it will no longer sponsor the Phoenix Suns if owner Robert Sarver remains part of the franchise when his suspension ends.

And the National Basketball Players Association later made its stance clear, with executive director Tamika Tremaglio telling ESPN that NBA players want Sarver banned for life.

PayPal said its current partnership deal with the Suns ends after the coming season, meaning it will expire during Sarver’s one-year suspension from the NBA. Sarver was suspended this week, plus fined $10 million, after an investigation showed a pattern of lewd, misogynistic and racist speech and conduct during his 18 years as owner of the Suns.

PayPal’s statement came one day after Suns vice chairman Jahm Najafi called for Sarver to resign, saying there should be ”zero tolerance” for lewd, misogynistic and racist conduct in any workplace. Some players, including Suns guard Chris Paul – a past president of the National Basketball Players Association – and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, also have said the NBA’s sanctions of Sarver did not go far enough.

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden met with family members of WNBA star Brittney Griner and another American detained in Russia, Paul Whelan, the first face-to-face encounter that the president has had with the relatives.

In a statement after the meetings, which were held separately, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden stressed to the families his ”continued commitment to working through all available avenues to bring Brittney and Paul home safely.”

Griner has been held in Russia since February on drug-related charges. She was sentenced last month to nine years in prison after pleading guilty and has appealed the punishment. Whelan is serving a 16-year sentence on espionage-related charges that he and his family say are false.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) – Point guard Dennis Schroder is returning for a second stint with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Schroder’s agency, Priority Sports, announced the deal on social media. Schroder confirmed it with an Instagram post. The German guard spent the 2020-21 season with the Lakers, averaging 15.4 points and 5.8 assists. He played for Boston and Houston last season.

BERLIN (AP) – Guerschon Yabusele scored 22 points and France routed Poland 95-54 to set up a showdown with Spain in the EuroBasket championship game.

Spain beat host Germany 96-91, Lorenzo Brown scoring 29 points. The gold- and bronze-medal games are Sunday.

FOOTBALL

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) – Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert fractured rib cartilage after taking a hit during the fourth quarter Thursday night in a 27-24 loss at Kansas City.

Coach Brandon Staley said a morning CT scan confirmed the injury. Staley said the third-year quarterback is day-to-day and that his status will be evaluated again Monday. The Chargers (1-1) don’t return to the practice field until Wednesday, when they will begin preparing to host Jacksonville on Sept. 25.

GOLF

NAPA, Calif. (AP) – Max Homa moved into position to defend his title at the Fortinet Championship, shooting a 5-under 67 to share the 36-hole lead with Danny Willett in the PGA Tour’s season opener.

Homa, a two-time winner last season and a captain’s pick for next week’s Presidents Cup, had an eagle, four birdies and a bogey – his first of the week – for a two-day total of 12-under 132 at Silverado Resort & Spa.

The four-time PGA Tour winner played collegiately at California.

Willett, winless in the United States since his triumph at the Masters in 2016, shot a bogey-free 64. The Englishman kept his PGA Tour card for this season because of players defecting to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series.

SUGAR GROVE, Ill. (AP) – Dustin Johnson shot a 9-under 63 at Rich Harvest Farms to take a three-shot lead after the first of three rounds in the LIV Golf Invitational-Chicago.

Coming off a playoff win two weeks ago outside Boston, Johnson has made just over $9.9 million in four starts on the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series.

British Open champion Cameron Smith shot 66. Phil Mickelson opened with a 70,

GUIDONIA MONTECELIO, Italy (AP) – Rory McIlroy shot a 5-under 66 at next year’s Ryder Cup course for a one-stroke lead over U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick in the Italian Open.

Playing in Italy for the first time as a pro specifically to gain familiarity with the Marco Simone layout, McIlroy had a 9-under 133 total. Fitzpatrick shot 69.

The round was suspended because of darkness for the second straight day.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Esther Henseleit had 10 birdies in an 8-under 64, giving the 23-year-old German a share of the AmazingCre Portland Classic lead with Lilia Vu going into the weekend.

Vu, a former No. 1 amateur player when she was at UCLA, had four birdies and an eagle on her opening seven holes and then played steadily on the back nine for a 66. Vu and Henseleit were at 10-under 134.

AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – NASCAR champion Kyle Larson signed a three-year contract extension through 2026 with Hendrick Motorsports, the team that welcomed him back last season after a nearly one-year suspension.

The extension announced includes sponsor HendrickCars.com, which will sponsor the No. 5 Chevrolet for 35 races a season. Larson’s extension and the sponsorship renewal are concurrent.

Larson was suspended for most of 2020 for using a racial slur and lost his job with Chip Ganassi Racing. Hendrick took him when the suspension was lifted, and Larson won 10 races last season and his first Cup title.

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) – Aric Almirola took the pole for the NASCAR Cup Series playoff race Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, edging Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Chase Briscoe.

Almirola, a non-playoff driver, had a lap at 127.826 mph in a Ford. The race at Bristol is the first playoff eliminator, with the playoff field cut from 16 to 12.

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) – Noah Gragson held off Brandon Jones at Bristol Motor Speedway for his third consecutive NASCAR Xfinity Series victory.

Gragson won his series-high sixth race of the season driving a Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. The Xfinity Series playoffs begin next week at Texas Motor Speedway, with Gragson the top seed.

SEXUAL ABUSE

DETROIT (AP) – A judge signed off on a fund for more than 1,000 people who said they were sexually assaulted by a University of Michigan doctor, an order that allows victims to start collecting a portion of a $490 million settlement negotiated with the school.

Anderson died in 2008 after working at the university for nearly 40 years. He was director of the campus Health Service and a physician for multiple sports teams, including football.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts approved creation of the fund and appointed Houston-based Archer Systems LLC as the claims administrator.