Thunder was about the only thing missing from the scene as Pete Alonso walked to the plate in the rain after skies had violently darkened Thursday at Citi Field.
With a mighty clout against Albert Abreu in the 10th inning, Alonso rescued his club from what could have been a stomach-churning loss to a Yankees team that seemed determined to throw away the game. Right after the Mets were finished trying to throw away the game.
“This is a valuable lesson,” Alonso said after his walk-off, two-run blast gave the Mets a 9-7 victory. “It doesn’t matter what happened, you just have to stay resilient and keep fighting, and give your best effort each AB, each inning, each pitch. I’m just happy I capitalized on a great opportunity and sent us home.”
The walk-off homer was the first of Alonso’s career and atoned for an earlier defensive flub that helped the Yankees extend their lead. The Mets won their second straight and managed a 3-3 tie in the season Subway Series with the Yankees.
After an emotional series with Tampa Bay in which they lost two of three, the Yankees could have used an easy victory, but never put away the Mets after grabbing a 4-0 lead in the second inning.
The Mets’ own emotions were tied to franchise icon Tom Seaver, whose life was remembered, a day after his family revealed the 75-year-old Hall of Fame pitcher died this week from complications of dementia and COVID-19.
“He’s an absolute legend and now he’s a baseball god,” Alonso said. “To win today, it’s extremely special.”
In a kooky ninth inning, Aroldis Chapman walked Jeff McNeil leading off and balked pinch-runner Billy Hamilton to second. Hamilton took off for third on the next pitch and was thrown out by Kyle Higashioka. The ensuing batter, J.D. Davis, cleared the center-field fence to tie it 7-7.
“We were set to close it out and it just didn’t happen today,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
The Yankees had their own base-running snafu in the 10th inning, when Tyler Wade broke from second on DJ LeMahieu’s line drive that Michael Conforto snagged and was thrown out.
Zack Britton surrendered a two-run single to Amed Rosario in the eighth, but the Mets’ comeback stalled. Chapman, who is appealing his three-game suspension for throwing near the head of the Rays’ Michael Brosseau, continued his struggles with a second blown save in three chances.
“In that inning the only thing I would take away is I executed that pitch and he made good contact,” Chapman said. “Other than that I felt good out there.”
Miguel Castro’s control was an issue in the seventh inning. The right-hander walked two batters and with two outs allowed a go-ahead RBI single to Gio Urshela. The inning got worse for the Mets when Alonso didn’t get his glove down on Brett Gardner’s grounder that went for an RBI double to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead. The Castro letdown came after Chasen Shreve and Jeurys Familia had combined to pitch 4 ¹/₃ shutout innings behind ineffective Robert Gsellman.
J.A. Happ was given a four-run lead in the second inning, but saw it disappear by the fourth. The Mets’ comeback started with Todd Frazier’s solo homer to right in the second — his first hit since rejoining the Mets a day earlier.
The Mets attacked with three runs in the fourth to tie it 4-4. Frazier started the rally with a double before Happ retired Dominic Smith and struck out Alonso. But Jake Marisnick delivered the first of four straight two-out hits to give the Mets new life. Marisnick doubled in a run and Rosario’s ensuing RBI single pulled the Mets within 4-3. Robinson Chirinos singled for his first Mets hit before McNeil tied it with a single to left-center.
The Mets (17-21) need a big run if they are going to qualify for the NL’s eight-team postseason, and these last two victories might be a start.
“We can watch the standings all we want, but at the end of the day we have to win each and every day whenever we can,” Alonso said. “I feel like we do have a real good chance to play our way in there. I feel like if we keep playing hard and stay resilient like we have been, I think we do have a real good chance.”