NEW YORK -- Pete Alonso is shattering rookie home run records with such regularity that he’s become even more comfortable hitting the ball out of the park.
“I believe in my power, I believe in my hitting ability,” Alonso said. “So I guess every single night is a night where I got a chance to hit a homer.”
Alonso cracked his 17th long ball of the season during the New York Mets’ 9-8 loss to the Tigers at Citi Field on Friday night. He plunked the left-field foul pole against Zac Reininger in the fifth inning to provide one of the game’s five lead changes.
“I want to say it was a fun game to be a part of, but we came up on the losing end,” Alonso said. “There was a lot of really clutch moments in the game. It was a really exciting game to be in.”
The homer moved Alonso into a three-way tie with the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger and Astros’ George Springer for second-most in the Majors. But that lasted all of about 25 minutes once Bellinger cracked his 18th of the year against Pittsburgh.
While the majority of his homers have gone to straight-away center, or just to the right of that mark, his past two have come as close to the left-field line as possible.
“I feel like more pitches have been coming inside,” he said. “They don't want a mistake out over the plate, and my hands have been quick and I've been getting there.”
Alonso also doubled and scored in the four-run fourth. He was 6-for-42 (.143) with five solo homers and 14 strikeouts in 13 games entering Friday. A sacrifice fly Thursday afternoon was his first non-homer RBI since May 7, but he also struck out three times.
“The past couple days definitely not what I want. But fight every single day,” Alonso said. “Yesterday, terrible day for me. Glad I can come up with an RBI yesterday and have a good team at-bat. But striking out three times in a game doesn't do it. I'm glad I can come out here and be better for my team.”
Friday's loss marked the 30th game in franchise history in which they hit at least five homers, and the second time this year.
Alonso has been involved in both of those games in 2019. The first came in a 6-5 win against Washington on April 6. But Friday night was just the fourth of those 30 games that ended in a loss.
Amed Rosario started the homer parade with a solo shot in the third, his fifth. Adeiny Hechvarria gave the Mets a 5-4 lead with his first roundtripper with the club. Wilson Ramos brought the Mets to within a run with a solo shot in the eighth.
But it was Aaron Altherr who was able to provide the flavor of the week. Just two days after Rajai Davis became the 11th player in club history to homer in his first at-bat as a Met, Altherr became the 12th.
“Some kind of magic going on around here,” Altherr said.
Altherr bashed a solo shot on the second pitch he saw from Buck Farmer in the sixth inning.
“I was just not trying to do too much really,” he said. “Just put a good swing on it, and just happened to barrel it up, and it went out.”
Altherr entered as a pinch-hitter and had just one hit in 30 at-bats (.033) prior to being claimed off waivers Thirsday. He struggled to find at-bats in Philadelphia and San Francisco, but prepared well enough to make a big first impression.
“At that point, once you step in the box, you just go up there and compete and see what happens,” he said. “Being able to come back and pull ahead and almost win that game showed how these guys can battle.”
Robinson Cano was the 10th player to homer in his first at-bat with the Mets on Opening Day this year.