Alonso’s 3-run HR, 4 RBIs leads Mets over Padres 8-5

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Pete Alonso lifted the ball into the left-field seats and sent the New York Mets soaring into their high-profile Subway Series matchup against the Yankees and Aaron Judge.

Alonso hit a go-ahead, three-run homer off Joe Musgrove and had four RBIs to retake the major league lead, leading the Mets over the San Diego Padres 8-5 on Sunday night and avoiding a three-game sweep.

Next up: a two-game series against the Yankees at Citi Field starting Tuesday night. Both teams lead their divisions, and Alonso’s 82 RBIs are one more than Judge’s total.

“I wouldn’t really call it toe to toe, me versus him,” Alonso said. “This is a moment where the city can come together over the game of baseball.”

San Diego had won the first two games of the weekend series behind Yu Darvish and Blake Snell. The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the sixth behind Joe Musgrove and had not trailed in 25 innings.

New York’s NL East lead was down to a half-game over defending World Series champion Atlanta.

“We just ran into two buzz saws,” Alonso said. “We needed this one. This one was huge for us today.”

Eric Hosmer provided Musgrove (8-3) a 1-0 lead with a run-scoring double in the sixth off Drew Smith (2-3), but the Mets rallied in the bottom half on the sweltering night and reopened a 1 1/2-game lead over the second-place Braves. New York avoided a three-game sweep and what would have been its first four-game losing streak this year.

Alonso hit his 25th home run in a five-run sixth and added an RBI double high off the center-field wall in a three-run seventh that built an 8-1 lead.

After wasting a second-and-third, no-outs threat in the fifth, the Mets pressured again when Starling Marte singled leading off the sixth and Francisco Lindor doubled.

Pitching coach Ruben Niebla went to the mound, and Musgrove hung a 2-1 slider that Alonso hit into the left-field seats.

“You can’t hit a five-run homer and you can’t hit a four-run single,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “Sometimes you want something too much, and something like that might let you kind of get back into the flow of who you are.”

Daniel Vogelbach, making his Mets debut, got New York’s first hit in the fifth, then walked and scored in the sixth when Luis Guillorme hit a perfectly placed two-out RBI single on a jam shot off Nick Martinez that dropped into shallow left as shortstop Ha-Seong Kim pulled up. Tomas Nido followed with an opposite-field RBI double that hopped off the right-center fence.

Rookie center fielder Esteury Ruiz allowed Alonso’s double against Steven Wilson to go over his glove and high off the wall, Mark Canha followed with an RBI infield hit on a slow roller and third baseman Manny Machado threw past first for a run-scoring error.

Vogelbach, acquired Friday from Pittsburgh, went 1 for 3 and received a warm ovation. He had been 0 for 8 against Musgrove.

“I don’t know that I’ve played in an environment like that – at least being the home team.” Vogelbach said. “Pretty cool to call it my home field now.”

STARTERS

Mets starter Carlos Carrasco allowed six hits over five scoreless innings on the 90-degree night. Musgrove, 0-3 in his last five starts, gave up four runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

CLOSER

Machado had three hits, included an RBI double in a three-run ninth off Joely Rodriguez. Edwin Diaz, energizing the crowd when he entered to Blasterjaxx & Timmy Trumpet’s “Narco,” relieved with two on and got three outs for his 21st save in 24 chances.

WEB GEM

New York’s Brandon Nimmo made a leaping catch against the center-field wall in the sixth to rob Austin Nola of a run-scoring extra-base hit.

PLUNKED BUT NO BASE

Machado struck out leading off the sixth when he was hit on a hand by a Smith changeup, but first base umpire Angel Hernandez ruled Machado swung at the 0-2 pitch.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: CF Trent Grisham didn’t play, a day after leaving in the eighth following a collision with pitcher Chris Bassitt. … INF C.J. Abrams (sore biceps) was out of the lineup for the second straight day. … OF Wil Myers (right knee inflammation) will need additional minor league rehab games in the coming week. … LHP Drew Pomeranz threw about 20 pitches Saturday in his first simulated game following flexor tendon surgery last August.

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (stress reaction in his right scapula) threw a side session at Citi Field and will make at least a fourth minor league rehab start. The 34-year-old right-hander, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, has not pitched in the major leagues since July 7 last year. … RHP Trevor May (right triceps inflammation) threw 14 pitches during a one-inning appearance for Double-A Binghamton.

Booth: ESPN and YES broadcaster David Cone worked his first game since the former big league pitcher had hip replacement surgery on July 11.

UP NEXT

Padres: LHP Sean Manaea (5-4, 4.11) is to start Monday night at Detroit against RHP Drew Hutchison (1-4, 4.46).

Mets: RHP Taijuan Walker (7-2, 2.55) is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last seven starts going into his Tuesday outing against LHP Jordan Montgomery (3-2, 3.24).

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Matt Olson knew the Atlanta Braves were too talented to stay in a season-long slump.

That’s why no one panicked when the New York Mets’ division lead swelled to double digits in May. Now the Braves are on the cusp of another NL East title.

“It’s a clubhouse full of guys who want to win,” Olson said. “That’s all it’s been since the moment I walked in. That’s No. 1 on the program.”

Dansby Swanson and Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Braves beat New York 5-3 on Sunday night, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closes out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

“We’ve felt this confidence since the beginning of the year,” d’Arnaud said. “It just didn’t go our way early in the year, but pulling on the same rope, having each others’ backs, not trying to do too much. We’re just trying to play the game of baseball and have fun with it.”

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

“We still have three games left in the regular season, we’re still going to the postseason, that doesn’t change, but there’s a lot of learning points that we can take from this series moving forward,” Mets slugger Pete Alonso said. “I thought we played well, but the Braves played better. They played excellent baseball this entire weekend.”

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

“Everyone knew we were underperforming when we were flirting around that .500 range,” Olson said. “It was one of those things where it was trusting the talent we have and the guys in the clubhouse. Everybody was solid, head down, do your work, it’ll turn around and you wind up winning.”

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).