Too late for it to matter in the bigger picture of the Mets’ season, Pete Alonso is hot again.
He crushed his fourth home run in three days Wednesday night in the Mets’ 4-3 win over the Cubs.
All of a sudden, Alonso’s numbers on the year are back to looking like their usual prolific selves. With 35 homers, he is third in the majors and second in the National League.
With 87 RBIs, he is . . . third in the majors and second in the NL again. And his .854 OPS leads the Mets by a significant margin.
He downplayed the significance of the approaching round numbers — 40 homers, 100 RBIs — but those will matter if and when he hits salary arbitration for a final time this offseason.
Alonso is the first Met to have four seasons of 35 homers or more. “You can look at numbers. They’re really nice to look at,” he said. “But they don’t necessarily tell the whole journey of the season and the progress and the work.”
With results to show for it, Alonso is back to feeling good about the progress and the work after being outwardly frustrated during a June-into-July stretch that he considered the worst of his career. “I’ve been really enjoying my play for the past two or three weeks,” he said. “Hopefully I can sustain this or sustain good form in general throughout the rest of the year.”
Manager Buck Showalter said: “I know he takes great satisfaction in contributing and us benefiting from his contribution.”
Alonso’s latest long ball came in the bottom of the fourth, when the Mets (52-62) trailed by two against righthander Kyle Hendricks (five innings, two runs).
With Francisco Lindor on first base — where he was allowed to stay after the Mets’ challenge of his getting picked off yielded an overturned call — Alonso got a sinker over the middle of the plate. He hammered it 434 feet to left-centerfield.
In his fifth season in the majors, Alonso has worked his way up the Mets’ all-time leaderboards. His 181 career homers are fifth, and he has a shot at catching Howard Johnson (192) this season. And his 467 RBIs are 11th, one shy of Keith Hernandez.
“That gets your attention. There’s been some great hitters here with power,” Showalter said. “And Pete’s doing it in a ballpark where you got to earn every one of them. I’m a fan. Every once in a while, I step back and take stuff like that in and realize what an honor it is to watch guys do things like that.”
David Peterson allowed the Cubs (59-56) two runs in 3 2⁄3 innings (62 pitches), a step forward in the Mets’ attempt to build up his pitch count again after a stint in the bullpen.
A couple of rookie relievers helped a standout bullpen effort: righthander Grant Hartwig (2 1⁄3 scoreless innings) and lefthander Josh Walker (perfect inning against the heart of the Cubs’ order for his first hold).
In the ninth, Phil Bickford inherited a two-on, no-out mess from Adam Ottavino and protected a one-run lead for his second save (first with the Mets).