Pete Alonso of the Mets celebrates his two-run home run...

Pete Alonso of the Mets celebrates his two-run home run with Starling Marte against the Phillies during the third inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on Friday in Philadelphia. Credit: Getty Images/Rich Schultz

PHILADELPHIA — The story of the Mets’ 7-2 win over the Phillies on Friday night began not at first pitch but more than eight years earlier at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium — “The Mac” — then the baseball home of the Florida Gators.

On March 29, 2014, a freshman corner infielder/designated hitter named Peter Alonso got his first glimpse of LSU’s Aaron Nola, one of the top amateur pitchers in the country (and the seventh overall draft pick a few months later), in the first game of a weekend series.

Alonso wasn’t quite a nobody, but he wasn’t a somebody, either, batting eighth for the home team in Gainesville. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout, a pop-up and a flyout — a performance that he remembers now as “really bad at-bats.”

That was the only occasion in which the pair faced off during their lone year of SEC overlap. But so ingrained in the brain of Alonso is that minimal history, and so committed is Alonso to learning from random, long-ago, one-off failure, that it remains fuel for what has become his mastery of Nola, a degree of dominance that included a big night in the opener of the weekend set.

“He’s one of those guys that really owned me in college,” Alonso said recently. “I made a promise to myself that if I see him later on down the road that I’m going to stay within my plan and just do the best that I can.”

Alonso put the Mets (77-43) ahead with a groundout in the first inning, his 100th RBI of the season. He added his 30th homer in the third, a two-out, two-run shot that tied him with Aaron Judge for the MLB lead in RBIs. It is the second time in three full seasons in the majors that he has reached those round-number milestones (a multiyear feat that the Mets had not received from anybody in more than a decade).

Alonso’s career line against Nola: .349 (15-for-43) with a .767 slugging percentage, five homers and 11 RBIs. Nobody else has more than three long balls off Nola, who has been in the majors twice as long as Alonso.


“He’s a good hitter, man. Smart. You can tell when he’s up at the plate,” said Nola, who said he doesn’t remember their initial meeting.

“I feel like he remembers what you threw against him. He’s selective up there. He doesn’t give away at-bats. That’s why he’s doing the things he’s doing with all the RBIs, the average, the home runs — that’s why you see it year after year.”

In front of a sellout crowd of 43,176 at Citizens Bank Park, Nola wound up allowing five runs in five innings, upping his ERA to 3.25. Chris Bassitt gutting through six innings and giving up only two runs meant the Phillies (65-53) had little chance.

Alonso’s homer came on a 2-and-2 fastball on the inner edge of the plate — more of the plate than the righthander wanted. “I was hoping to freeze him there,” said Nola, who did not.

The damage could’ve been even greater, too. Alonso’s third plate appearance came with runners at the corners and none out in the fifth. He got under a curveball and popped out.

“I got lucky,” Nola said.

Alonso said: “I did a pretty good job . . . I fouled off a few that I’d like to have back, but I thought I did a really good job putting the ball in play.”

Unlike that one day in college.

“He holds himself to such a high standard and wants to be everything for us every night,” Buck Showalter said. “When you look up and see 100 [RBIs] next to his name in the middle of August, it’s impressive.”