Rather than instigating another altercation, Pete Alonso decided to send St. Louis home packing with his third-career walk-off home run in the 10th inning — a no-doubt two-run shot on the first pitch he saw from Giovanny Gallegos into the left-field stands to lift the Mets (26-14) to a 7-6 victory over the Cardinals on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field.
The win ensures the Mets took the four-game series with three wins while overturning a one-run deficit in the bottom of the 10th after Albert Pujols, in likely his final-ever Citi Field at-bat, hit a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play to put St. Louis ahead momentarily.
Alonso’s fireworks capped off a 3-for-4 day with three RBI, putting him in the MLB lead with 36 on the season thus far. He has seven runs batted in over his last two games, the ultimate retribution for a Cardinals team that hit Alonso in the hand on Wednesday night and buzzed him near the head during the fifth inning on Thursday.
“I was just looking pretty much anything in my zone. He came in there and thankfully I capitalized,” Alonso. “I feel like I”m having a pretty complete year. I just want to keep capitalizing in my zone… I want to keep continuing to hone in.”
The Cardinals tied the game in the ninth inning off Edwin Diaz, though the Mets closer did not give up particularly hard contact. An infield single by Harrison Bader led to the speedster stealing second and advancing to third on a Yadier Molina groundout.
After Tommy Edman struck out, Paul Goldschmidt, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI on the day, hit a slow roller to third that was booted by Eduardo Escobar — though the third baseman likely wouldn’t have had a play even if he fielded it cleanly — allowing Bader to score the tying run.
“This was one of these games where you were thinking ‘man, maybe it’s not our day,'” Mets manager Buck Showalter said.
Diaz fell into further trouble after hitting Nolan Arenado to load the bases, but he got Juan Yepez looking to keep it tied for New York heading into the bottom of the ninth.
The Mets got to Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson early, scoring in the first inning for the third time in four games this series.
Alonso moved back into a tie for the MLB lead in RBI when he punched a single through the gaping second-base hole to drive in Brandon Nimmo.
“He obviously really loves baseball, he loves the Mets, and he loves being here,” Showalter said. “He never gives in, he’s very competitive.”
He and Francisco Lindor, who walked earlier in the frame, would execute a rare double steal — just Alonso’s sixth swiped bag of the season — to put runners at second and third. Lindor would score on a mad dash home when Jeff McNeil’s chopper up the middle was fielded by Brendan Donovan, but his throw home was not in time to give New York a 2-0.
It was the first of three RBI on the day for McNeil.
The lead wouldn’t last long as starting pitcher Chris Bassitt gave up a pair of home runs — one in the second to Juan Yepez and a two-out blast to the red-hot Paul Goldschmidt in the third. Goldschmidt struck again in the fifth when he gave the Cardinals the lead with an RBI double down the right-field line.
But the Mets had an immediate answer up their sleeves to re-take the lead with another crooked inning in the bottom of the fifth.
Luis Guillorme advanced to third on a Tomas Nido sacrifice bunt after doubling to lead off the inning. He scored on Brandon Nimmo’s roller up the first-base line that saw Albert Pujols step on first and quickly fire home, but the throw wasn’t reeled in by Yadier Molina.
Had he caught it and applied the tag in time, the inning would have been over with the Cardinals still in the lead.
The Mets took full advantage of their second chance. Mark Canha singled followed by walks to Lindor and Alonso, who had to dodge ball four near his head, to load the bases.
McNeil came through again with a low-liner to center field that Harrison Bader was unable to reel in, scoring two and giving the Mets a 5-3 lead.
“I’m just trying to hit a line drive up the middle,” McNeil said of his approach. “I was able to sit on a changeup and drive it right up the middle.”
While Bassitt battled past the sixth and got Yadier Molina to fly out deep to left for the first out in the frame, a walk to Tommy Edman and a single by Donovan put runners at the corners for St. Louis to run the Mets’ starter out of the game.
Drew Smith threw just two pitches to the dangerous Goldschmidt, who lifted a high fly down the left-field line. It was caught by a leaping McNeil and while Edman came in to score, the Mets’ left fielder cut down Donovan trying to tag up at second to get out of the seventh with a one-run lead.
“What a game he had,” Showalter said of McNeil. “Whether it was offense or defense, he had an impressive game all the way around.”