KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Pete Alonso wasn’t even sure he was going to make the New York Mets’ opening day roster, so even he never could have imagined the incredible season he’s having.
The burly first baseman hit his 40th home run to break the National League rookie record, capping a late outburst by the New York Mets in their 11-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
“This season’s been unbelievable,” Alonso said. “It’s been a dream come true so far and I just want to keep building off of it and keep trying to help this team win.”
Michael Conforto hit a long homer in the first inning and drove in four runs. Amed Rosario put the Mets ahead 6-4 with a two-run single in the seventh, and Alonso went deep in the ninth.
Alonso quickly fell behind 0-2 in the count, but when Royals pitcher Jacob Barnes threw a high fastball, he didn’t miss.
“I was just trying to hit the ball hard like I have been,” Alonso said. “Take good, quality swings at good pitches and, thankfully, he gave me a fastball up in the zone, which I like to swing at.”
The result was a no-doubt shot over the bullpen in left field that snapped a tie with Cody Bellinger, who hit 39 home runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017 on the way to winning Rookie of the Year honors.
“It was a pretty grand one,” New York manager Mickey Callaway said. “It went a long way, it seemed like.”
Next up for the 24-year-old Alonso is the Mets season record of 41 home runs set by Todd Hundley in 1996 and equaled by Carlos Beltran a decade later.
“That’s even more mind-boggling,” Alonso said. “I’m just really grateful. Grateful and thankful and happy that I’ve had this opportunity.”
New York, in the middle of a crowded NL wild-card race thanks to its second-half surge, completed a 3-3 road trip and improved to 24-10 since the All-Star break.
Alonso also had an RBI double and scored three times during his second consecutive three-hit game. Rosario had three hits and three RBIs in the leadoff spot, and Joe Panik added three hits as the top four batters in the Mets’ lineup combined to go 11 for 18 with nine RBIs and seven runs.
“When we’re locked in and try to put good at-bats together and hit the ball hard and not try to do too much, I mean, we can be really dangerous,” Alonso said. “Today we showed that.”
New York scored six times in the seventh to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 9-4 lead. J.D. Davis tied it with a pinch-hit RBI single and Rosario had the go-ahead single two batters later. Alonso, Conforto and Wilson Ramos added RBI base hits later in the inning.
New York battered Royals reliever Kevin McCarthy (2-2), who was charged with four runs in one-third of an inning.
Jeurys Familia (4-1) allowed one run in two innings.
“Familia did a great job. Six big outs for us,” Callaway said. “Some in a tight game and then went back out. Tough spot to go back out – he probably sat for 20 minutes.”
Conforto put the Mets up 3-0 in the first, sending the first pitch he saw from starter Glenn Sparkman 452 feet to right field for his 25th home run.
Sparkman settled down after that to throw six solid innings. He set down 14 of his next 15 batters and pitched around a couple of one-out singles in the sixth.
“Once I got my groove, I felt really good,” Sparkman said. “I really wanted to go as far as I possibly could in this game.”
Mets starter Zack Wheeler didn’t allow a hit through the first three innings, but things snowballed over the next two. He gave up four runs – three earned – on five hits in five innings and committed a costly throwing error in the fifth.
“A couple of bloopers dropped in and then I messed the play up at first that I should have made and it kind of took off from there and I couldn’t stop it,” Wheeler said.
STATS AND STREAKS
Mets catcher TomÃ¡s Nido snapped an 0-for-24 skid with a double in the seventh. … Ramos singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, tied for the longest active run in the majors with Cincinnati’s Jose Iglesias. … Rosario moved from shortstop to left field in the seventh, his first major league appearance in the outfield. … Cheslor Cuthbert went 0 for 4 for the Royals, matching Chad Kreuter’s team record with his seventh straight 0-for-4 game. Cuthbert is hitless in 30 at-bats since Aug. 8. … Kansas City is 1-10 in series rubber games this season and 1-24 dating to May 30, 2018.
With an off day on Monday, the Mets held Davis out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive day as he nurses a sore calf. Following his pinch-hit single, he went first to third on Nido’s double but then was removed from the game. Afterward, Davis said it was just a precaution and he expects to play Tuesday.
Mets: Return home Tuesday night to begin a nine-game homestand against playoff contenders. Steven Matz (7-7) starts the series opener against All-Star Game MVP Shane Bieber (12-5) and the Cleveland Indians. Callaway was Cleveland’s pitching coach under skipper Terry Francona before getting the job in New York.
Royals: Head out of town for a seven-game trip beginning Monday night in Baltimore. Jorge Lopez (1-7) makes his 12th start of the season.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports