Throughout his young career, Pete Alonso has handled the NL East rival Phillies well. He has taken it to another level so far this year.
Friday night was yet another dominant performance. Alonso homered, drove in four runs and made a sparkling play in 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 begin a six-game homestand.
The Mets have now beaten the Phillies seven times in 10 meetings, and in those contests, Alonso has five home runs, 17 RBIs and an OPS of 1,143. The last time the two teams met before this latest encounter, Alonso helped the Mets salvage a doubleheader split on May 8 by going deep twice and driving in five runs in the nightcap.
Friday night, without Alonao’s offensive production and that big defensive play in the second inning, the Mets (30-17) would’ve been in trouble. It allowed them to survive the Phillies’ six-run sixth inning. Alonso drove in runs in each of his first three at-bats and was intentionally walked in his fourth of him. He now leads the majors with 45 RBIs.
The tone for the early part of the evening was set on the first pitch to Brandon Nimmo. He hit a routine grounder to shortstop Bryson Stott, who threw wild to first base, igniting a three-run Mets rally. Twice, the Mets scored on shallow sacrifice flies to right field, with Nimmo and Starling Marte easily outrunning the right arm of Nick Castellanos.
Contrast that to the top of the second, when a diving Alonso robbed Odubel Herrera of a double and at least one RBI. Carlos Carrasco made the defensive gem stand up by retiring Garrett Stubbs on a groundout. The lead grew to 7-0 after Alonso’s two-run homer in the third and his run-scoring double in the fourth. It felt like a laugher, but the Phillies had other ideas.
They broke through against Carrasco in the sixth, starting with a pair of well-placed infield hits by Rhys Hoskins and Alec Bohm. Run-scoring singles by Bryce Harper and Castellanos made it a 7-2 game.
Carrasco rebounded momentarily by retiring the next two hitters, but after walking Herrera, manager Buck Showalter went to his bullpen and Chasen Shreve imploded. He left a 1-2 splitter over the middle of the plate and Stubbs homered to right. Suddenly, 7-0 was 7-6, and a strong outing by Carrasco looked very different.
Over the first five innings, I have blanked the Phillies, limiting them to just three base-runners. But the first four Phillies reached base in the sixth and he couldn’t get through the inning. His night from him ended with six hits and five earned runs along with seven strikeouts over 5 ² / ₃ innings of work.
The Mets responded by scratching out a run in the bottom of the sixth, and Drew Smith put up a zero in the seventh to stabilize the game, a bounce back after his poor showing against the Giants on Tuesday.
The Phillies’ final threat came in the eighth, when they had runners on second and third with one out. But Joely Rodriguez struck out Stubbs and Seth Lugo was able to get JT Realmuto to pop out to end the inning.
Fittingly, it was Alonso who tracked the ball down in foul territory. I have provided the impetus for this victory.