Rookie sensation Pete Alonso hit his 50th home run and Jacob deGrom continued his push for a second straight National League Cy Young Award by tossing seven scoreless innings Friday night for the visiting New York Mets, who kept their postseason hopes alive with an 8-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
The Mets (80-73), who have won three straight, entered Friday 3 1/2 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the race for the NL's second wild card. The loss guaranteed the Reds (72-82) their sixth straight losing season.
Alonso was hitless in his first three at-bats before making history in the eighth, when he reached out for a low and outside offering by Sal Romano and crushed the pitch well beyond the center-field fence to extend the Mets' lead to 5-0.
The milestone blast snapped a tie with Mark McGwire for second place on the all-time rookie single-season list and left Alonso two homers behind crosstown rival Aaron Judge, who hit 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.
Alonso's homer provided a rare cushion for deGrom and the rare opportunity for manager Mickey Callaway to pull the ace right-hander instead of asking him to nurse a lead into the eighth or beyond.
DeGrom (10-8) allowed four hits and walked none while striking out nine over seven innings. He has allowed one run or fewer 15 times this season but earned a win in just eight of those outings.
DeGrom, who won the Cy Young Award with a 1.70 ERA last season, has a 1.99 ERA in his last 22 starts to lower his overall ERA to 2.51, second-lowest in the NL behind the Los Angeles Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Mets' 31-year-old ace leads the Senior Circuit with 248 strikeouts and ranks second in innings pitched (197).
Jeff McNeil snapped a scoreless tie with a solo homer in the sixth off Luis Castillo (15-7). Amed Rosario hit a two-run homer in the seventh before the Mets piled on in the ninth, when McNeil (double), Juan Lagares (single) and Michael Conforto (single) all had RBI hits.
Aristides Aquino had two hits for the Reds, including a leadoff homer in the ninth that ended the shutout.
Castillo allowed three runs on three hits and three walks while striking out seven over seven innings.
--Field Level Media