The rookies show up, and then Alonso eliminates Rays for a dramatic win
NEW YORK — The receiver was right in front of the Mets, in full view: one at the plate, one in the hold circle, and one near the exit of the dugout waiting for his turn to strike. Queens were down by three runs in the ninth inning against the best team in baseball, but at least they had some hope. At least they had boys.
At the start was Brett Batty, who had long been one of the best prospects in the organization and had been a spark for the club all season. Then it was Mark Ventus’ turn, the story of the day, who got up Wednesday in Syracuse, New York, and reached Queens just in time to hit a home run in the seventh inning. Flew.
This brought in Francisco Álvarez, the organization’s top prospect at the start of the season, who had struggled at the top since being called up to the big club. But not this time. Alvarez hit a three-run homer off of Jason Adam, earning a Mets A 8-7 win over the Rays in the tenth inning thanks to Pete Alonso’s three-run homer.
“Three home runs are something out of a movie,” said pitcher Kodai Senga.
If a screenwriter had to write this kind of ending, he might have eliminated the first of those homeworks as too clichéd. On his first night back in the majors, after essentially forcing the organization to pat him with his productions, Vientos hit a game-tying homer in the seventh. But the excitement of that drive was short-lived, as the Rays—known for their relentless power—again led by three runs in the ninth.
At that point, what was left of the Citi Field crowd of 29,695 began booing the Mets again, at least until Adan walked the first two batters of the inning. Now it’s time for the guys: Bati, Ventos and Alvarez, in that order.
At Syracuse, the three used to hit in a row, leading them to frequently declare that if one of them couldn’t do the job, the next in line would. So when Bati and Ventus failed to put the Mets one spot from losing another, Alvarez nailed himself to the plate. He thought back to his first week in the majors a month earlier, when Padres near Josh Roar threw a fastball after a fastball in the top of the strike zone until he hit. Alvarez himself promised that the result would be different this time.
Fortunately for him, Adan gave him an opportunity Hader never did, throwing a fastball over the turn of home plate. After sending the ball 426 feet into the second deck of the left field bleachers, Alvarez took a few steps to first base, yelled, and then threw the bat in the air.
“I said yes [Baty y Vientos] “They couldn’t do it, I wanted to have the chance to be able to do it myself,” Alvarez said. “And I managed to do it.”
Finally, after the Rays scored twice in the tenth inning to push New York to the brink, it was Alonso’s turn. Did not disappoint.
When Alonso hit his fourth home run, he tied with five other players for the most in Mets history. Three of his four runs came in extra innings, also tying a franchise record.
“It was a very unfortunate time to be the worst of Pete,” said Rays reliever Pete Fairbanks who took the snap.
While Alonso was circling the bases, his teammates came out of the dugouts in what looked and felt like a bit of catharsis. All season long, the Mets have been waiting for such a moment, after experiencing a lot last summer. All year long, they’ve been looking for that spark.
Finally, on Wednesday, the guys at the club introduced him.
“It’s always exciting to see a young man who wants to succeed and make an impact,” said Alonso. “Obviously, tonight they had a huge impact on us.”