1st Down: Albert Pujols just continues to produce magical moments. In what was supposed to be a sendoff year back at his home prior to leaving for a while, he has captured the imagination beyond our wildest dreams in 2022. Rolling back the years, he’s helped the St. Louis Cardinals get to a comfortable spot at the top of the NL Central. And he’s also produced on the field, hitting a number of home runs and collecting big hits on top of his leadership role. He hit his 697th homer on Sunday afternoon, taking him to fourth on the all-time list. With three more, he’ll have 700 and will join the likes of Ruth, Bonds, and Aaron. The homer, a two-run blast in the ninth inning, helped them overcome the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 to maintain an eight-game edge in the division.
2nd Down: Carlos Alcaraz, courtesy of his victory at the US Open on Sunday, has become the youngest-ever ATP #1 tennis player. The 19-year old Spaniard took the title at Arthur Ashe by dispatching Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 in four sets, finally getting the job done without going into a supremely long outing. Alcaraz’s win in New York was his first Grand Slam of what many expected to be plenty down the line. Ruud, a Norwegian, was denied his first major at the final stage for the second straight time.
3rd Down: Game 1 of the WNBA Finals took place on Sunday, and Las Vegas held serve on its home court by beating the Connecticut Sun 67-64. A strong second quarter had helped the Sun take the lead, but tremendously tough defending in the fourth from both teams held kept the game close. In the end, though, the Aces outscored their visitors 12-11 in that last period, and that made the difference. A’ja Wilson led the way for the hosts with 24 points (making 12 of 14 free throws) while also grabbing 11 rebounds. Alyssa Thomas matched her double-double (19 points and 11 boards of her own) in the losing effort.
4th Down: On the track, it was a very busy day on Sunday with Indycar, F1, and NASCAR all getting in on the action. Indycar crowned its 2022 champion at its finale at Laguna Seca, with Will Power finishing off four other contenders thanks to a third place finish in the race. Alex Palou, last season’s champ, won the race while Joseph Newgarden took second in the race and championship. In F1, Max Verstappen further solidified his grip on the championship by winning at Monza over title rival Charles Leclerc. Verstappen also kept the Ferrari faithful from their desire to see one of their drivers win in Italy. And in NASCAR, Bubba Wallace took his first-career win at a ‘regular’ track by winning at Kansas on Sunday in the #45 car. Wallace held off his car owner, Denny Hamlin, to grab his second win, following up a win last at Talladega last year.