Polar Warmth (Pirates-Mets, Game 2; 07.10.21)

Robert Cole/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

NEW YORK — Do not let the sweltering, humid New York summer weather fool you, the Polar Bear is finding his surroundings more and more comfortable.

Pete Alonso continued his hot hitting with a solo home run as part of the New York Mets’ 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday. Jeff McNeil had a two-hit night, including an two-RBI double in dribving in the first two runs of the game in the opening inning.

Alonso, who is getting ready to head to Denver next week to participate in the Home Run Derby, smacked a 1-1 pitch from Pirates starter Max Kranick 428 feet and off the facing of the second deck for his 17th homer of the season, giving the Mets a 3-1 lead in the third. Six of Alonso’s round-trippers have come in the last 13 games.

Just as important as Alonso’s power stroke getting going to improve an offense that’s next-to-last in the Majors in runs scored is a reemergence of McNeil, who missed most of the first half of a season with a hamstring injury. After going 1-for-2 in a substitute appearance in the first game, McNeil wasted no time in getting back on the hit column, lining a Krasnick pitch to right center with two on and two out in the first, scoring both Francisco Lindor and Dominic Smith.

The return of Brandon Nimmo at the top of the lineup has paid immediate dividends, but pairing that with the capability of McNeil, a career .308 hitter, only would make the lineup deeper and more formidable to face for opponents who already have to deal with one of the better pitching staffs in the National League.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s contest, with photographs taken by ALOST senior photographer Robert Cole. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 29 pictures in total.

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