After yelling at Braves pitcher Bryce Elder to "throw it again" after homering off the righty on Tuesday, Atlanta fans greeted Alonso with boos pre and in-game, and some even cheered when he suffered a left wrist contusion in the first inning after being hit by a Charlie Morton 96.5-mph fastball. Alonso’s X-rays returned negative, and he is listed as day-to-day.
“Obviously, that's a consequence of what I said in the dugout and the hot mic,” said Alonso, who revealed Morton found him after he received his X-rays, apologized for the pitch and expressed it wasn’t his intention. “It's just unfortunate because I think it got blown out of proportion. It's just friendly, competitive banter.”
Although Alonso exited, New York finally scored enough to break through the four-run ceiling that has held it down since May 30. The Mets secured leads twice and a tie in the seventh against Atlanta, but it wasn’t enough after the Braves rallied and took a lead they wouldn’t relinquish when Michael Harris II smashed a 443-foot two-run homer in the eighth.
The Mets now have dropped five straight games -- their longest losing streak since Sept. 21-26, 2021.
“This game could have worked out a little bit [differently],” Max Scherzer said. “That's baseball, so you get division rivals like this, the line between good and great’s so thin. Anything can change a ballgame around.”
While the losing streak is troublesome, the production of 35-year-old Tommy Pham has been a welcome sight. Pham, who bonded with Alonso during Spring Training, usually comes off the bench -- a role that he hasn’t had since his young days as a Cardinal. Yet he still prepares as if he’s starting every day, and the opportunity presented itself Wednesday.
With the Mets missing the MLB leader in home runs (22) and NL leader in RBIs (49), Pham stepped up, hitting a two-run home run in the fifth and a sacrifice fly -- that nearly became an extra-base hit until the Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. made a leaping grab at the right-field wall -- in the seventh.
It was the most RBIs for a Met in a game since Mark Canha’s four-RBI performance on May 31 vs. the Phillies. Pham is 3-for-7 with three home runs and five RBIs during the Mets’ losing streak.
“Tommy, unbelievable day,” Alonso said. “He had great quality at-bats. He filled right in obviously, sac fly, big homer [and] stepped right in and filled the four-hole role great.”
Rookie Francisco Alvarez joined in on the home run party, smashing a 421-foot home run in the second, which marked his ninth homer of the season. He trails Travis d’Arnaud (13) and Jason Phillips (11) for the most homers as a Mets catcher in the rookie season, after getting the start at catcher over Omar Narváez.
Scherzer also made history, sitting third all-time in most career double-digit strikeout games with 111, after logging 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. He surpassed Roger Clemens all-time and only trails Nolan Ryan (215) and Randy Johnson (212). Despite the strikeouts, he allowed 11 hits and five runs, which all came in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Scherzer was lights out in the first three innings, allowing one hit and logging seven strikeouts. While his changeup and slider were effective in the first half of his start, they got him in trouble in the second.
“Tonight was kind of a weird night,” Scherzer said. “Did a lot of things right. Didn’t walk anybody… used all my pitches, everything was working. But later in the game -- typically you win or lose ballgames on your last 15 pitches.”
The Mets have now dropped four consecutive series vs. the Braves.
“Coming off a tough loss yesterday and coming back and getting a lead and then going ahead and coming back and tying the game up, you know, you don't do those things if you don't have that mode of operation,” said manager Buck Showalter, when asked about the team feeling good things were coming. “But our guys will get what they're putting into this, eventually.”