EditorsNote: update 2: revises second graf to reflect Cubs’ late win
Pete Alonso hit two solo shots Monday night to close in on baseball’s single-season rookie home run record, and the New York Mets beat the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 in the opener of a pivotal four-game series.
The Mets (73-70), who remain four games behind the Chicago Cubs in the race for the second National League wild card, snapped a two-game losing streak. The Diamondbacks (75-69), who are now 2 1/2 games back of the Cubs, lost their second straight and fell for just the third time in 14 games.
Alonso gave the Mets a quick lead with a homer in the first and provided their final run in the fifth. The two homers give him a major-league-leading 47, five shy of the rookie record set by the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge in 2017.
The homers by Alonso helped ensure a rare reward for Mets starter Jacob deGrom (9-8). The right-hander earned the win after allowing one run — on a solo homer by former teammate Wilmer Flores — on three hits and one walk while striking out 11 in seven innings.
It was the ninth time this season deGrom threw at least seven innings and gave up one run or fewer, but only the fifth time in those contests that he recorded the win.
DeGrom is 6-3 with a 2.20 ERA in his past 20 starts dating back to May 22. He overtook Washington’s Stephen Strasburg for the NL lead in strikeouts with 231 and lowered his ERA to 2.70, fourth lowest in the Senior Circuit.
Seth Lugo struck out four in two perfect innings for his fifth save.
Amed Rosario had an RBI single in the fourth inning among two hits for the Mets. New York’s Wilson Ramos had two hits and reached base three times in four plate appearances (also hit by a pitch).
Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly (10-14) took the loss after allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five over six innings.
Flores, who became a fan favorite as he collected a team-record 10 walk-off RBIs while playing for the Mets from 2013-18, was honored with a pregame video and received a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat. He tipped his hat to the crowd and winked at deGrom.
—Field Level Media