MIAMI — After he blasted a 95-mile-per-hour fastball more than 400 feet to center field in the ninth inning of the Mets’ 7-3 win on Monday night, Pete Alonso was the last player into the clubhouse.
Teammates held Bud Lights in their hands and shouted for Alonso, the rookie first baseman, to hurry. They were ready to celebrate the first home run of his major league career.
He jumped into a laundry cart at Marlins Park, and they wheeled him into the shower. He was doused with beer, barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, eggs and relish. He kept his mouth shut the whole time as his eyes started to burn.
“That was really cool,” he said. “I didn’t know that was a thing.”
The Mets and the rest of Major League Baseball have quickly learned that Alonso, 24, is the real thing. After stroking hard-hit doubles against the Nationals over the weekend, Alonso delivered his first long ball when the Mets, with a fresh one-run lead in the ninth inning, needed some insurance. One at-bat earlier, Amed Rosario’s run-scoring single had broken a 3-3 tie.
Though the Mets trailed early and committed two errors, Alonso’s strength on his three-run homer allowed them to finish off the Miami Marlins to improve to 3-1.
“That was a crush job,” said the Mets’ clubhouse manager, Kevin Kierst, as he bumped fists with Alonso in the hallway afterward.
With the Mets fresh off a series victory over the Washington Nationals, Manager Mickey Callaway urged his players to remain focused. While the Marlins had managed a four-game split with the Colorado Rockies over the weekend, most of Miami’s new lineup lacked name recognition.
“They’re a little bit of the unknown,” Callaway said.
Caleb Smith, a Miami left-hander, introduced himself by striking out the side in the top of the first. His second baseman, Starlin Castro, followed with a two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the inning.
The Mets made mistakes early. One day after Tomas Nido, the reserve catcher, was charged with a throwing error, the starting catcher Wilson Ramos allowed a passed ball on a third strike to the first batter. Three batters later, Castro delivered his home run.
Left fielder Jeff McNeil also committed his first error of the season, overrunning the ball while chasing a foul pop. He followed that with a strikeout in the top of the sixth. Callaway removed him from the game when he took out starter Steven Matz in the sixth. Matz surrendered three runs, but only one was earned.
“We have to take care of business,” Callaway said. “We have to execute the way we know we can.”
Alonso did just that in the ninth. Closer Edwin Diaz then collected three strikeouts in the bottom of the inning to preserve the win.
Alonso was the person teammates waited for in the clubhouse, though.
“There’s excitement there in this room,” Callaway said. “And there should be for a long time.”
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