Pete Alonso wasted no time showing that his right hand injury has healed, and now he looks to help the New York Mets stretch their winning streak to six games when they visit the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night at Phoenix.
The slugging first baseman was activated from the injured list prior to Monday’s 6-2 win over the Diamondbacks and made his presence felt with a homer and a season-high four RBIs.
Alonso hadn’t played since May 18, but he swung the bat well, ripping a two-run single in the third inning and smacking a 442-foot, two-run homer in the seventh.
“I just felt like myself, being able to control my body and my swing, that’s paramount,” Alonso said after the victory in the opener of the three-game set. “… The reason why I felt the way I did — I felt strong, I felt normal, I felt like myself. I’m at my best when I feel like Pete.”
The homer was Alonso’s seventh of the season, and it helped the Mets defeat Arizona for the fourth straight time this season and eighth consecutive occasion overall.
Mets outfielder Kevin Pillar also was activated prior to the game for his first action since being struck in the face by Atlanta right-hander Jacob Webb on May 17. Pillar sustained multiple facial fractures in the horrific plunking.
Pillar entered the game as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the seventh inning and came up to the plate in the eighth. On the fourth pitch, he drilled a single to left field off Arizona right-hander Stefan Crichton to prompt a rousing ovation from his teammates in the dugout.
Pillar said prior to the game that his facial fractures won’t be healed for another four to six weeks. He wore a facemask in the field and on the bases but didn’t while batting.
Arizona is certainly glad to see the calendar change from May to June after going a dreadful 5-24 for the month. That includes finishing the month with 14 setbacks in 15 games.
“My challenge to these guys is to find a way to keep fighting, which they do, but to take care of those little things,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after the latest loss. “Because for me and this organization, they add up to big things. And when those big things happen, you take them the right way as well.”
Arizona’s Eduardo Escobar smacked his 13th homer in Monday’s game, and he leads the National League with 39 RBIs.
Right-hander Marcus Stroman (4-4, 2.47 ERA) will be on the mound for the Mets.
The 30-year-old had lost four straight decisions before beating the Colorado Rockies in his last turn on Thursday. He gave up three hits over six shutout innings.
Stroman is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in three career starts against the Diamondbacks. He has struggled with Josh Reddick (4-for-9, one homer) while shutting down Escobar (2-for-12).
Left-hander Caleb Smith (2-1, 3.27) will make his second start of the season for the Diamondbacks.
The 29-year-old Smith’s first appearance of the season was a start against the San Diego Padres in early April. He gave up four runs (three earned) and five hits over three innings while taking a loss.
Smith has since made 18 straight relief appearances. Two of the outings were against the Mets in New York, and he gave up three runs (two earned) and three hits over two innings.
Overall, Smith is 3-0 with a 4.11 ERA in seven appearances (five starts) against the Mets. Francisco Lindor is 2-for-5 with two homers against him.
–Field Level Media