Pete Alonso shrugs off illness, supplies Mets with much-needed antidote of walk-off win over Rays

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Pete Alonso Mets
New York Mets’ Pete Alonso (20) celebrates with teammates after hitting a walk-off three-run home run during the tenth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in New York. The Mets won 8-7. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

QUEENS — Pete Alonso isn’t sure if it’s a sinus infection, a cold, or the flu, but the ultimate prescription to combat whatever bug he’s dealing with is dingers.

The ill Mets slugger mustered up more than enough strength on Wednesday night to deliver a towering game-winning, three-run home run in the 10th inning to lift the Mets to a dramatic and wild 8-7 victory over the MLB-best Tampa Bay Rays.

“I felt horrible,” Alonso admitted. “Even though it sucks being sick, it’s always nice to be able to hit homers.”

His 15th home run of the season was the ultimate way to salvage an off night. The 28-year-old had gone 0-for-4 including a first-inning double play to cut short an early threat with runners on first and second on a night where — as manager Buck Showalter described it — not many people would suit up to play.

“As long as I’m physically able to play, my job description as a baseball player [is to play],” Alonso said. “I want to play if I’m physically able to go out there.”

While he started his night slow, the Mets looked to their youngsters to overturn a pair of late deficits.

Mark Vientos snuck a two-run, tying home run in the seventh just hours after he was called up from the minors and in his season debut before Francisco Alvarez rocketed a three-run shot with two outs in the ninth to tie the game at 5-5 and force extra innings. 

“They put together great at-bats consistently,” Alonso said. “I’m really thankful for them coming up clutch because I wouldn’t have that opportunity to help the team in extras there.”

Pete Alonso Mets
New York Mets’ Pete Alonso (20) celebrates as he runs the bases after hitting a after hitting the game winning three-run home run during the tenth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

After the Rays scratched two across in the ninth inning off reliever David Robertson, Jeff McNeil singled off Pete Fairbanks to put two runners on and set the stage for Alonso.

Following a first-pitch strike, Alonso pulled a 98-mph fastball in the upper half of the zone into the second deck of the left-field stands at Citi Field to give the Mets just their seventh win in the last 23 games.

“I was just excited that I was able to take that swing and win the game for us,” Alonso said of his fourth-career walk-off home run. “Honestly, when you’re in a moment like that, I’m not really conscious of anything. I just kind of blacked out for a little bit and enjoyed the moment running the bases.”

There waiting for him at the top of the Mets dugout was his manager, who continued to marvel at his slugger’s refusal to take a night off.

“Pete’s sick as a dog,” Showalter said. “Most people wouldn’t have played tonight or yesterday. I talked to him about it. This guy has been battling here and slept in a separate bedroom last night because he was so sick and he didn’t want his wife to catch it… I’m sure I’ll get it now that I hugged him but I don’t have to play.”

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