EditorsNote: update: revises first two grafs
Pete Alonso set the New York Mets’ single-season home run record Tuesday night, but Addison Russell and Javier Baez each hit two-run homers as the visiting Chicago Cubs earned a 5-2 win in the opener of a three-game series with National League wild-card implications.
Chicago right-hander Yu Darvish (5-6) continued his recent surge by tossing a season-high eight innings and allowing just one run.
The Cubs snapped a three-game losing streak as they extended their lead over the Mets in the race for the second wild card to three games. New York has lost four straight, its worst run since a seven-game skid from June 23-29.
Alonso, the NL Rookie of the Year favorite, energized the crowd of 34,158 by homering well beyond the right field fence on Darvish’s first pitch of the fourth inning for his 42nd homer of the season, breaking a tie with Todd Hundley (1996) and Carlos Beltran (2006). The theme from “The Natural” accompanied Alonso around the bases before he took a curtain call.
The good feelings didn’t last long for the Mets, though. Victor Caratini led off the top of the fifth with a double just beyond the grasp of center fielder Michael Conforto before Russell homered.
The Cubs extended their lead in the same fashion in the sixth, when Kris Bryant hit a leadoff double and Baez homered. Baez delivered his third extra-base hit of the night when he laced an RBI double in the eighth.
That was more than enough for Darvish, who allowed five hits and one walk while striking out seven. The Mets got just three runners beyond first base against Darvish and only one after Alonso’s homer.
Darvish walked Todd Frazier leading off the fifth — the first walk issued by Darvish since July 23, a span of 143 plate appearances. Frazier went to second on a bunt and took third on a groundout before Darvish retired Jeff McNeil on a flyout.
Darvish is 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA in his past nine starts dating back to July 12.
J.D. Davis homered with two outs in the ninth for the Mets.
New York starter Marcus Stroman (7-12) took the loss after allowing four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out seven over six innings.
—Field Level Media