PHILADELPHIA — Pete Alonso has been at his best when it matters the most, raising his play when the moment calls for it.
After the Mets dropped three of four to the Braves this week, the division matchup against the rising Phillies that began Friday night certainly mattered, and so the first baseman responded.
Alonso passed the 100 RBI mark and crushed his 30th home run of the season to jump-start the Mets in a 7-2 victory at Citizens Bank Park.
The Mets bounced back nicely after those four games in Atlanta, in which they lost a series to an NL East opponent for the first time this year. With a 77-43 record, they remained 3 ¹/₂ games up on the Braves, who beat the Astros on Friday.
“He wants to be everything for us every night,” manager Buck Showalter said of Alonso, who went 2-for-5 and finished the night tied with Aaron Judge for the major league lead with 102 RBIs. “He takes pride in his defense, in his baserunning, in driving in runs.
“Regardless of how he’s gotten here, you look up and see ‘100’ next to his name in the middle of August, it’s impressive.”
Alonso came up with a runner in scoring position three times and succeeded twice, providing the bulk of the offense to back a solid Chris Bassitt and effective Mets bullpen.
In the first inning, Alonso got the job done with an assist from Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm. The Mets had runners on the corners with one out, and Alonso knocked a ground ball down the line to Bohm, whose throw to second base skipped into right field.
The 100th RBI wasn’t the prettiest, but it counted all the same. In reaching the century mark in 119 games, Alonso is the fourth-fastest to 100 RBIs in franchise history. Mike Piazza reached the mark in 103 games in 2000.
There was less luck involved in the third inning, when Alonso, with two outs and Starling Marte on third, drilled a homer to left off Aaron Nola.
“It’s great, but also I’m just trying to do the best I can to help this win,” said Alonso, whose 1.125 OPS with runners in scoring position was the seventh-best in baseball upon the completion of the game. “I’m really happy and satisfied with my consistency so far this year.”
After the Alonso show, the Mets got creative to add to their lead.
They honored the Massapequa Coast team and pulled a Little League play later in the third inning. With runners on the corners, Francisco Lindor (3-for-5) took off for second. When Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto threw down, Marte sprinted from third to home. A perfect throw might have nabbed him, but Bryson Stott’s relay back to Realmuto was on the first-base side, and Marte slid in and stole home safely.
The Mets tacked on two runs in the seventh thanks to rookie Brett Baty and Showalter. After they loaded the bases, Showalter curiously pinch-ran with the slow Darin Ruf in place of the slightly slower Daniel Vogelbach at second base. The move looked brilliant when Baty came through with a two-out single to right field, and the sliding Ruf narrowly beat Nick Castellanos’ throw.
The work by Alonso and company made Bassitt’s outing stand up. Bassitt went six strong innings, in which he allowed two runs and gutted through 104 pitches. Bassitt has pitched back-to-back games against the Phillies and been effective in each.
“I try to do the same thing that’s working, but I know they’re looking for what I did last start, so it’s kind of a cat-and-mouse game,” said Bassitt, who has pitched four times against the Phillies this season and totaled 22 ²/₃ innings of four-run ball (1.59 ERA).
Bassitt extended his streak of not allowing an earned run to 28 innings before Philadelphia finally capitalized on a chance in the fifth inning.
After Bassitt hit Matt Vierling with a pitch, Bradley Zimmer’s perfectly placed slow grounder down the third-base line went for a double. Notorious Mets-killer Kyle Schwarber singled in two runs, but the Phillies’ scoring stopped there.
Bassitt handed off to Adam Ottavino, who passed off to Joely Rodriguez, who threw a scoreless eighth before Trevor May threw a scoreless ninth.
With a doubleheader ahead Saturday, the Mets were fortunate to be able to stay away from Edwin Diaz.
They also were fortunate to have Alonso.