Mets make history, then stun Rockies with rally

Alonso's 49th HR of 2019 sets Amazin's single-season franchise record for long balls

September 19th, 2019

DENVER -- Before delivering the go-ahead RBI in the Mets’ 7-4 win at Coors Field on Wednesday, offered the Rockies another demonstration of his offensive potency. Batting with one out in the sixth inning, Alonso smacked his 49th home run a projected 448 feet to left to give the Mets a franchise-record 225 homers on the season. It was only fitting that Alonso, who knows a thing or two about home run records, was the one to set the Mets’ single-season mark.

Three innings later, Alonso returned to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs, and a reputation to uphold. Rockies reliever Joe Harvey threw him four pitches, all balls, none of them particularly tempting. The resulting walk gave the Mets a lead that they would eventually extend during a four-run rally in the ninth inning.

“He puts the fear in guys,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “And he should. Because he’s a great hitter.”

More than anyone else, Alonso is the reason why the Mets set that franchise record for home runs, snapping a tie with their 2017 predecessors. Alonso has hit 22 percent of them, matching Mark McGwire for the second-highest total by a rookie in Major League history. If he maintains his current pace, Alonso will hit 52, which would tie Aaron Judge’s two-year-old rookie record.

Those are the types of milestones Alonso has ticked off all season, from the National League rookie record to the Mets’ individual franchise mark and so many others. Whenever he reaches one, Alonso tends to talk about how his primary focus is on the team. So it heartened him that his record-setting homer on Wednesday preceded an RBI walk that meant at least as much.

“Every at-bat is high-leverage,” Alonso said. “I had to be extra locked in.”  

Trailing by a run heading into the ninth, the Mets received a spark when -- whom Callaway declined to use as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded earlier in the game -- drew a leadoff walk. followed with a hit and singled home the tying run before two additional free passes put the Mets in front for the first time since the second inning.

also contributed an RBI single and pitched two innings for the win, after -- pitching to René Rivera instead of Ramos -- allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

“At the end of the day, we got the win,” Syndergaard said. “That’s all that matters. The boys really bailed me out out there.”

The win ensured that the Mets would stay at least within four games of the Cubs and Brewers for the NL's second Wild Card spot, though they understand they could win each of their final 10 games and still not make the postseason. But that won’t deter them as they enter their final three series of the season, against the Reds, Marlins and Braves.

“Obviously, we’d have liked to have swept [the Rockies] at this point,” Alonso said. “But taking a series is big for us. We’re just going to go ahead and grab as many games as we can, and see where the dust settles. We still have an outside shot. If we keep winning games, control what we can control, I think good things are going to happen.”

Those final games will also give them more opportunities to extend their home run record, in a season that has seen 10 clubs set franchise marks. Six others are on pace to do the same before the season is through. There have been more home runs in Major League Baseball this year than ever, making the Mets part of an MLB-wide trend.

“What’s cool about that is our approach this year, we never talk about home runs,” Callaway said. “I think when you take the right approach, you’re going to have better numbers, and that shows with the homers that we hit. That, and the pretty good balls to hit with.”