Pete Alonso’s 10th-inning leadoff, walk-off, two-run homer that gave the Mets a 7-6 victory over the Cardinals on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field was dramatic enough on its own.
Pitcher Chris Bassitt was determined to make it seem even more dramatic.
“Pete saved us,” Bassitt said.
Bassitt didn’t mean the season or anything huge like that. He just meant ending the back-and-forth game before the Mets had to leave for the airport to fly to Denver.
“I think Pete said, ‘We’ve got a long flight, so we’ve got to get out of here,’ ” Bassitt said.
The Mets were trailing 6-5 entering the bottom of the 10th with ghost runner Francisco Lindor on second when Alonso unloaded on a 1-and-0 pitch for the no-doubt game-winner to left off St. Louis closer Giovanny Gallegos.
Alonso has 10 home runs and leads the majors with 36 RBIs. It was his third career walk-off homer.
“I was just looking for pretty much anything in my zone and he came in there,” Alonso said. “Thankfully, I capitalized.”
Jeff McNeil, who was on deck, said: “I was just hoping Pete would drive him in. He did a whole lot more than that. That was fun to watch from the on-deck circle. That was a heck of a swing.”
On the day the Mets learned they have lost Max Scherzer for six to eight weeks because of an oblique injury, they overcame an Edwin Diaz blown save in the ninth to take three of four from St. Louis.
“That was fun,” Showalter said.
The Mets were one out from victory when St. Louis tied the score on an infield single by Paul Goldschmidt that ticked off the glove of third baseman Eduardo Escobar.
St. Louis then used its ghost runner to take the lead in the 10th on an Albert Pujols double-play grounder against Colin Holderman (1-0), who ended up getting the victory in his third big-league game.
“It’s one of those days where you’re thinking, ‘Maybe it’s not our day,’ “ Showalter said. “Sometimes you just kind of go, ‘Gosh, it’s just one of those days when the baseball gods aren’t kind.’ “
Bassitt, the last man standing from the Mets’ projected rotation Big Three that includes Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, was charged with four runs in 6 1/3 innings.
The Mets were trailing 3-2 entering the fifth. Brandon Nimmo drove in the tying run with a grounder to first for the second out of the inning. But the Mets weren’t done.
Mark Canha singled to knock out starter Dakota Hudson. Lindor singled off reliever Nick Wittgren and Alonso walked on a 3-and-0 slider that barely missed hitting him in the head as Alonso hit the dirt.
McNeil followed with a line drive to center that eluded the sliding Harrison Bader for a two-run single and a 5-3 lead.
McNeil also had a big defensive day in left.
Bassitt left with runners on first and third and one out in the seventh. Drew Smith came in to face Goldschmidt, who had hit a solo homer in the third.
Goldschmidt lofted a deep fly ball into the leftfield corner. McNeil slightly overran the ball, but caught it with a leap in the sliver of foul territory between the line and the fence. The run scored from third to make it 5-4, but McNeil threw out Brandon Donovan trying to tag and go to second, with Luis Guillorme blocking the bag with his foot to keep Donovan from reaching the base.
McNeil also had a sliding catch and ran down a Pujols drive at the wall in the eighth.
With two outs in the ninth, Goldschmidt hit a slow grounder to the left of Escobar, who booted it and then kicked the ball into the outfield as the tying run scored. It was scored a base hit and error. Diaz, who had his second blown save in 11 chances, had converted eight in a row.
Notes & quotes: Starling Marte returned to the club after missing three games while on the bereavement list following the death of his grandmother. He is expected to be activated on Friday in Denver. The forecast in Denver includes a winter storm watch with snow and low temperatures in the 30s. Temperatures in the Mile High City were expected to reach 88 degrees on Thursday . . . J.D. Davis started over Dominic Smith against the righthander Hudson and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts to drop his average to .177.