Mets drop series opener to red-hot Christopher Morel, Cubs 7-2

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Christopher Morel Mets Cubs
Chicago Cubs’ Christopher Morel smiles as he runs the after hitting a home run off New York Mets relief pitcher Stephen Nogosek during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO (AP) — Christopher Morel took another big swing, and the ball just kept going. All the way to the bleachers at Wrigley Field.

That’s life these days for the affable Morel.

“Every day is a new opportunity for me,” he said.

Morel extended his homer streak to five games, helping the Chicago Cubs cool off the New York Mets with a 7-2 victory Tuesday night.

Matt Mervis and Seiya Suzuki also connected for the Cubs in the opener of a nine-game homestand. Dansby Swanson and Yan Gomes each had a run-scoring single, and Drew Smyly pitched four-hit ball into the sixth inning.

Morel hit a solo shot against Stephen Nogosek in the seventh, becoming the first player with a five-game homer streak for Chicago since Sammy Sosa in June 1998. Morel, another Dominican Republic native, was born a year later, in June 1999.

“He’s a threat. As soon as he steps in the box, he’s in scoring position,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “He hits the ball as hard as anybody.”

It was the ninth homer in 12 games for Morel, who was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on May 8. He became the first big leaguer to hit at least nine homers in his first 12 games in a season since Luis Gonzalez for Arizona in 2001.

Morel also has at least one hit and one run in his 12 games, matching the franchise record to begin a season established by Hank Sauer in 1954. And Morel is shooting for more.

“I can be better every day,” he said.

New York had won five in a row — all by one run. But Tylor Megill (5-3) turned in his worst start of the season and Tommy Pham committed a costly error, sending manager Buck Showalter to the loss on his 67th birthday.

Tylor Megill Mets
New York Mets starting pitcher Tylor Megill heads to the dugout after being pulled from the baseball game by manager Buck Showalter during the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Pete Alonso hit his big league-best 18th homer for the Mets, who dropped to 13-15 in a majors-high 28 road games.

“Every season’s its own entity, but I mean I do feel really, really good right now,” Alonso said. “So just need to stay right here where I’m at.”

Suzuki opened the Cubs’ four-run second with a leadoff drive to center for his fifth homer in his last eight games. Gomes added a two-out RBI single on a high chopper to third, and Mervis made it 4-0 with a two-run shot for his first homer at Wrigley since he was brought up from Iowa on May 5.

Mervis and Swanson tacked on two-out RBI singles in the fourth. Mervis drove in Mike Tauchman, who reached second when his leadoff liner was dropped by Pham in left.

Megill was charged with six runs, four earned, and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-7 right-hander was 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his previous two starts.

“Just turn the page, get ready for the next one,” Megill said.

New York had a chance to get back in the game when Smyly (5-1) was replaced by Jeremiah Estrada with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth. But Estrada limited the damage to one run on Alonso’s grounder to third.

For more on the Mets, visit AMNY.com