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With an All-Star first, Alonso makes an impact

Mets slugger makes history by driving in multiple runs; deGrom throws perfect inning
@JonathanMayo
July 10, 2019

CLEVELAND -- On Monday night, he took the spotlight with the long ball. On Tuesday, Pete Alonso grabbed a little bit more with a simple base hit. The T-Mobile Home Run Derby champion came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the eighth

CLEVELAND -- On Monday night, he took the spotlight with the long ball. On Tuesday, Pete Alonso grabbed a little bit more with a simple base hit.

The T-Mobile Home Run Derby champion came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the eighth inning. He was facing Indians closer Brad Hand in Hand's own ballpark, and the National League hadn’t been able to mount much in the way of offense.

Leaving his Derby swing in the clubhouse, Alonso drilled a line drive past Francisco Lindor into left field to score two runs on a 1-2 count, bringing the NL to within a run. That’s as close as they would come, with the American League holding on for a 4-3 win at Progressive Field in the All-Star Game Presented by Mastercard.

AL holds off NL to win 7th straight All-Star Game

“For me, I take pride in being a complete hitter,” Alonso said. “I have confidence in myself. I have confidence in my two-strike approach. Just getting a ball out over the plate I can handle and not chasing, that’s really the main component to it.”

It gave the NL a chance to win, as did a double steal pulled off by Alonso and the Cardinals’ Paul DeJong.

“Me and Paul stole a base, a base hit would’ve put us out in front,” Alonso said. “That’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. It’s an All-Star Game. You’ve got the best of the best staffs out there. A lot of guys threw really well. It’s a special game.”

It was a special performance by Alonso, who became the first rookie to record multiple RBIs in an All-Star Game.

“I didn’t know that,” Alonso said. “That’s crazy. I’m just really thankful for this opportunity. As every moment comes and arises, I just want to make the most of every situation.”

Here's every key moment in the All-Star Game

That’s true even if the slugger with 30 homers in the first half of his rookie season didn’t go yard on Tuesday night. Not leaving the park in the All-Star Game did nothing to tarnish his overall experience in Cleveland.

“No, because I’m a champion,” Alonso said. “Hits are cool, too. For me right now, it’s all about staying within myself. That was the key to last night.”

Alonso even flashed some solid leather at first base. His impressive scoop of a Max Muncy one-hop throw after Muncy’s diving stop on a Carlos Santana smash was perhaps the standout defensive play of the night. And he’s well aware that’s a part of his game that he knows is often maligned.

“I want to kick that bad rep,” Alonso said. “A lot of the baseball writers and people in the media think I can’t play defense, but I can. I just want to continue to show it.”

Other Mets were able to show they belonged on this stage as well. Jacob deGrom tossed a perfect third inning on just seven pitches, doing, as fellow Mets All-Star Jeff McNeil said, “just deGrom stuff.” For his part, McNeil went 0-for-1 in his one at-bat. But the very fact he was named to the team was more than enough for a guy who spent six years in the Minor Leagues.

“I started in Double-A last year. To be an MLB All-Star, I didn’t think it would happen this quick,” McNeil said. “It’s awesome. I love every minute of it. I hope my career keeps going up and I keep doing well.”

Alonso had the same mentality as his teammate, soaking in every moment as best as he could. He admitted he’d need time to reflect on the whirlwind of besting Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the Derby finals and driving in two All-Star runs, looking around the clubhouse with deep appreciation of the moment.

“This entire experience, it went by in a blink of an eye,” Alonso said. “For me, this was a dream. It went by fast, but I feel I did a really good job of slowing things down a little bit and kind of taking things in and enjoying.

“Looking around in this locker room, seeing all these names in this locker room, and seeing all the guys over there, it’s like, ‘Whoa.’ I’m here with the top percent of people in baseball. To me, it’s crazy. Playing with guys I watched in high school, in college, watched on TV all the time, it’s incredible. It justifies all the hard work and sacrifices throughout my career.”

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.