Michael Conforto approached Pete Alonso with a message from the bench before the Mets first baseman led off the seventh inning in Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader.
Hitting coach Hugh Quattlebaum relayed to Conforto a reminder for Alonso to keep Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman in the strike zone, not allowing him to “spray” his pitches. Already in the game, Alonso had just missed a homer in the first inning and stranded four runners on base over his next two plate appearances.
Alonso fell behind 1-2 in the count to Chapman before smashing a slider into the left-field bullpen to tie it. Before the inning was over the Mets had scored six runs, which carried them to a 10-5 victory in The Bronx.
“I feel like I’ve had a lot of quality at-bats and feel like I’ve been right on some pitches,” said Alonso, whose blast in the nightcap, a 4-2 Mets loss, gave him four homers on the road trip. “You don’t feel like you’re at your best every at-bat, but I feel I’ve made a lot of good passes. In Atlanta [the previous series], I made a lot of hard contact.”
The Mets were just beginning their torment of the struggling Chapman. Conforto was drilled by a pitch following the Alonso homer and Jeff McNeil walked. Chapman was removed, and both runs scored on Jose Peraza’s double against Lucas Luetge after Kevin Pillar had singled to load the bases. Peraza was awarded the double after a fan had reached over the left-field fence to catch the ball.
“We’ve just been a really resilient bunch,” Alonso said. “We have a really good group of core players and over the past couple of years we’ve had new guys come along and I feel the product on the field this year, every single guy isn’t only pulling for each other, when they are out there in the box they are gritty and they are grinders.”
Alonso was asked about the significance of such a comeback occurring in the Subway Series.
“It is really cool having it here and, yes, the crosstown rivalry,” Alonso said. “It was really amazing.”
Tomas Nido, Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor each delivered an RBI single in the fourth as the Mets rallied to tie it 4-4 against Gerrit Cole.
“We’re down 4-1 at one point and we’re facing one of the best pitchers in the game,” manager Luis Rojas said. “And the guys are in the dugout grinding and shouting and pulling for each other. The resiliency here is definitely something special. I thought we had some of that last year, but this year is definitely even better.”