Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Alonso Hits #40, But Not Enough To Get Mets Past Marlins


Pete Alonso connecting on #40. Photo by Jason Schott.

Pete Alonso, just one game after setting the Mets' new single-season RBI record, hit his 40th home run on Tuesday night, becoming the first Met to hit that plateau twice, as he hit 53 in his rookie year, 2019.

Despite that bit of history, the Mets had a tough night, as they lost to the Miami Marlins, 6-4, falling to 97-58, as the Atlanta Braves tied them once again at the top of the National League East after their 8-2 win in Washington.

Mets starter Carlos Carrasco, who entered this one with a 15-6 record, had a tough outing. He loaded the bases in the first inning when he hit Miguel Rojas with a pitch and then allowed two bloop singles to Brian Anderson and Garrett Cooper. Bryan De La Cruz got a sacrifice fly to knock in the first run, and then Anderson came in to score on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. 

Bryan De La Cruz hitting his sacrifice fly in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

After Carrasco got a well-timed double play that he started to get out of another bases loaded jam in the second, he then allowed a two-run shot into the right-field corner to JJ Bleday in the third to make it 4-0 Miami.

The right-hander exited after three innings, in which he allowed four runs (all earned) on six hits and a walk, with two strikeouts in just three innings.

Marlins starter Pedro Lopez had the exact opposite start to the game, as he retired the Mets nine up, nine down in the first three innings.

That would change in the fourth, as Brandon Nimmo led off by lacing own past third base for a single, and then Francisco Lindor hit a double to basically the same spot, and it went down the left field line.

That brought Alonso to the plate, and he blasted the three-run shot to left for #40, which cut the Marlins' lead to 4-3. That also gave the Mets first baseman 131 RBI, which is the new Major League lead, surpassing Aaron Judge of the Yankees, who has 128.

It is the fifth time a Met has hit 40-or-more home runs, and since Alonso has done it twice, the other three Mets to do it are Todd Hundley (41 in 1996), Mike Piazza (40 in 1999) and Carlos Beltran (41 in 2006).

Mets Manager Buck Showalter was asked before the game about the value of having a slugger like Alonso in the lineup, and he said, "I mean, even to do that you have to have the table set, you have to have the other pieces there, and Pete's been very, you can tell how often he acknowledges it and is aware of that, but he's more than just a power hitter. I mean, this is a guy who'll take a walk, this is a guy who takes a lot of pride in running the bases; he wants to be a well-rounded player. I'm just glad that everybody, it's happened in the past, but I think everybody gets to see, you know, he's doing it again, he's doing it again, it's hard.

"It's kind of like, everyone in the gym knows that Michael Jordan's taking the last shot, and he still does it and makes it. Everybody knows they're getting their best torque on their slider from Pete, what have you. I used to think, I was always amazed at watching people hang breaking balls and throw balls right down the middle to Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa, and I go, it's a lot of the anxiety they create in pitchers because now they want to torque their best breaking ball and, when you try to do something different, you know, you get around it, and you throw it just where you don't want to, 'oh, don't throw it there! I just threw it there,' you know, so you see that sometimes...How do you stay aggressive sometimes when you're being pitched so difficultly, that's a challenge for Pete sometimes."

Alonso also reached 300 total bases for the second time in his career, and is also the fifth Met in franchise history with multiple seasons of 300+ total bases, as David Wright had four, and Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and Howard Johnson each had two of them.

The Marlins got two of those runs from the three-run shot back instantly, as Jacob Stallings got a two-run single in the fifth off Trevor Williams to make it 6-3.

Lopez went six innings, allowing three runs (all earned since it was the Alonso homer) on five hits and no walk, with five strikeouts to even up his record at 10-10, and lower his ERA (earned run average) to 3.90.

BUCK ON DONNIE BASEBALL: Marlins Manager Don Mattingly announced on Sunday that he will not be returning next season. Showalter was Mattingly's manager with the Yankees from 1992 to '95, and he said of the news on Tuesday afternoon, "Donnie's just got such a pure heart, I don't want to say he's not mean, but he's got a lot of tough drive, but Donnie just has such a pure heart...Yeah, I talked to Donnie a little bit before the season, but the game's better with him in it, and hope he continues. He's as good a human being as he is a player and coach and manager, and that's saying a lot. He's at a good place in his life, too, you know, he's got a lot of things coming back to him that have been a challenge, and really happy for him, and I think he wouldn't be down this avenue unless he wasn't happy with it, I should say at peace with it. I know Donnie would like to be the last team standing this year, don't underestimate his competitive fire, kind of sad in a way, that this game needs people like Donnie in it.

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