Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was a double short of the cycle when he stepped to the plate against Rockies reliever Boone Logan in the seventh inning of Sunday’s series finale in Colorado. To that point, he had singled in the first, hit a two-run home run in the third, and tripled in the sixth.
The Phillies had just tied the game up at 6-6 and Jimmy Rollins was on third base with one out. Logan threw an 0-2 breaking ball and Howard pulled it to right field. Brandon Barnes charged in on it and tried to play it on a hop, but the ball skipped under his glove. Rollins scored and Howard pulled into second with what could have been a double, giving him the cycle. But the scorer ruled it a single and a fielding error on Barnes.
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Howard finished the day 4-for-5 — tying a career-high in hits in a single game — with three runs scored and three runs batted in as the Phillies won 10-9.
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.
It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.