Alonso becomes 2nd rookie to hit 50 HRs

Focus stays on 'opportunity to make something great happen' for team

September 21st, 2019

CINCINNATI -- The pitch was down and away. Many right-handed power hitters would have had little to do with the 96-mph two-seam fastball from Reds reliever Sal Romano. But Mets first baseman isn’t most hitters.

“I’m not trying to dip and rip,” Alonso says. “I’m just focused on hitting the ball as hard as I possibly can. Stay short and compact and just barrel it up.”

Alonso barreled up No. 50, and then some.

With one out and a runner on first in the eighth, Alonso clobbered Romano’s 2-2 pitch to become the first player in Mets franchise history to put up a 50-homer season in the Mets’ 8-1 win over the Reds on Friday night at Great American Ball Park.

He is also the first player to hit 50 homers in the season of his MLB debut.

“[Fifty homers] was within the realm of possibility, but I wasn’t really shooting for it,” Alonso said. “It’s tough to wrap my mind around it. I’m just focused between the lines every single day. I don’t think this is truly going to settle in until I can sit back after the season.”

Alonso’s rocket landed an estimated 437 feet away, below the smokestacks in right-center field to put the Mets ahead 5-0.

“It was down and away a little bit,” said Romano of his pitch to Alonso. “To be able to not only get a hit ... but hit a home run like that, just kind of a no-doubter, says so much about how locked in he is.”

According to Statcast, Alonso’s homer had an exit velocity of 108.2 mph. Mets third baseman , who played in Cincinnati for five seasons, said he’d never seen a right-handed batter hit a ball to that location in Great American Ball Park.

“I touched that one up pretty good,” Alonso said, with a wry smile.

Alonso became the Mets’ all-time single-season home run record holder on Aug. 27 when he hit home run No. 42 against the Cubs. The previous record of 41 was held by Todd Hundley and Carlos Beltrán. Alonso also owns Mets rookie records for hits, RBIs, extra-base hits and total bases.

“He’s a wonderful player,” said Mets manager Mickey Callaway. “I’m glad he got to that mark. He’s got some time left to do more damage. It looks like the [Reds] catcher is reaching down and to his right, and he just goes down and flicks it. That was a pretty well-executed pitch and he hits it as far as anyone.”

Like many of the Mets, Alonso is getting hot at the right time.

Coors Field proved to be the antidote for an 0-for-21 slump that left Alonso without a homer for seven straight games. He has since produced three straight multihit games and homered in three straight. And, he has two more games to play in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.

“Where Pete hit that ball, it was pretty unbelievable,” said Mets utility man Jeff McNeil. “Some of the most impressive power I’ve ever seen. Super happy for Pete. That’s who Pete is. He’s a home run hitter, but he’s also a very smart hitter. I’m not surprised at all.”

Next up for Alonso: trying to break Aaron Judge’s rookie home run record of 52, set in 2017. But Alonso said he’s focused on the team goal of reaching the playoffs before he considers breaking the Yankees slugger’s rookie mark.

“We still have an opportunity to make something great happen,” Alonso said.