Throughout his young career, Pete Alonso has handled NL rivals East Phillies well. He’s taken it to another level so far this year.
Friday night was yet another dominating performance. Alonso homered, drove in four runs and made a sparkling play from the field to save at least one run as the Mets continued their strong start against the Phillies with an 8-6 victory in front of 30,175 at Citi Field to start a match six homestay.
The first-place Mets have now beaten the Phillies seven times in 10 games, and in those contests, Alonso has five home runs, 17 RBIs and is .351 batting with a 1.143 OPS. The last time the two teams met before this last meeting, Alonso helped the Mets save a double split on May 8 by going deep twice and making five points in the nightcap.
“I really haven’t changed anything. I feel like I’m executing a bit better,” Alonso said of his outstanding first two months of the season. “Just having more time and a better understanding of myself, of who I am as a player, has kind of helped [me] execute.”
Friday night, without Alonso’s offensive production and that big defensive play in the second inning, the Mets (30-17) would have been in trouble. That allowed them to survive the Phillies’ six-run sixth inning. Alonso ran in each of his first three at bats and was intentionally walked on his fourth. He now leads the majors with 45 RBIs and set a Mets record for most RBIs before Memorial Day, breaking Bernard Gilkey’s previous mark of 44, set in 1996.
“Not a lot of dips and back and forths, not knowing what you’re going to get each day. He’s always one step away,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He doesn’t dwell on that last one at bat or that last game. And when he gets a hit and he runs a run first, he tries to get another one. I don’t mean greedy, but he never stops pushing.
The tone of the early evening was set on the first pitch to Brandon Nimmo. He hit a routine ground ball to shortstop Bryson Stott, who threw wildly to first base, sparking a Mets three-run rally. Twice the Mets scored on shallow sacrifice flights to right field, with Nimmo and Starling Marte easily passing Nick Castellanos’ right arm.
Compare that to the start of the second, when an Alonso dive robbed Odubel Herrera of a brace and at least one RBI. Carlos Carrasco held the defensive gem by removing Garrett Stubbs on a groundout.
The lead increased to 7-0 after Alonso’s two-run homer in the third and his brace in the fourth. It sounded like a laugh, but the Phillies had other ideas.
They broke through against Carrasco in the sixth, starting with a pair of well-placed hits by Rhys Hoskins and Alec Bohm. Bryce Harper and Castellanos scoring singles made it 7-2.
Carrasco momentarily rebounded as he retired the next two batters, but after walking Herrera, Showalter went to his bullpen and Chasen Shreve imploded. He left a 1-2 splitter in the middle of the plate and Stubbs parked a three-run homer on the right. Suddenly 7-0 was 7-6, and a solid Carrasco outing looked very different.
“They got me in the last set, but you saw the game,” said Carrasco, who won for the fifth time this season. “Soft touch right there.”
On Hoskins’ shot, Carrasco jammed his left thumb while diving for the ball, part of the reason Showalter put him out at 85 pitches. But afterwards, Carrasco said he felt good.
“It’s fine,” Carrasco said.
The Phillies’ final threat came in the eighth, when they had runners at second and third with one out. But Joely Rodriguez pulled out Stubbs and Seth Lugo managed to get JT Realmuto out to end the inning.
Fittingly, it was Alonso who found the ball in foul territory. He provided the impetus for this victory.