NEW YORK — To a man, the New York Mets offense knew it was going to break through on Monday night to deliver another home victory this season — even if that moment was left very late and took the third time of asking for a number of the players to actually make good on it.
Pete Alonso smacked two-run double in the seventh inning to provide the difference in a well-played pitcher’s duel, one that the New York Mets won 4-2 over the Milwaukee Brewers in a battle of first-place teams in the National League on Monday. Michael Conforto added an RBI single to drive in Alonso in the decisive inning for insurance, which was needed when closer Edwin Díaz gave up a run and a couple of hits in the ninth before locking down his 18th save of the season.
Before the seventh-inning noise, which ended up being the third turn at-bat for New York against All-Star pitcher Brandon Woodruff — he of the 1.87 ERA in 16 starts coming into tonight — the Mets’ bats barely made a peep and only were able to record one hit off Woodruff in the game’s first six frames. However, with the game tied at 1-1 to start the seventh, Francisco Lindor walked to start the frame before Dominic Smith’s single to advance Lindor to third to put the Mets in business.
Alonso, who did not swing the bat at any point in his first plate appearance while being called out on strikes, drove Woodruff’s first offering to him in the seventh down the left field line to plate two to give New York a 3-1 lead. Before the seventh, only three balls had managed to reach the outfield against Woodruff, including a double from Brandon Nimmo and sacrifice fly from Smith in the fourth that leveled the score at 1-1.
“I just think the guys did what they do. They believe in themselves and they connected the third time around,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “Third time through we started connecting good at-bats against [Woodruff]. With him, that’s just not easy. We just got to keep doing it like this. They know at one point, things connect and we put good at-bats together and they can score some runs.”
Alonso was the biggest beneficiary of New York’s patient approach against Woodruff and the Brewers to start the seventh, but he did not wait around to see Woodruff’s entire arsenal of pitches before delivering the game’s biggest hit.
“In the seventh inning, you had every single guy committed to winning the ball game and putting in high quality at-bats. That’s just high quality championship baseball and everyone was swinging at quality pitches and not giving in,” said Alonso, whose 18 first-pitch RBI rank him second in Major League Baseball. “The execution was perfect. How we’re going about our at-bats and being relentless as an offense, that’s kind of interchangeable when it comes to our mentality.”
Milwaukee had won 11 consecutive games before losing Sunday’s finale in Pittsburgh, and its starting pitching, led by Woodruff, has been the lynchpin in guiding the Brewers to the largest division lead in baseball at the moment. Woodruff was staked to a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning courtesy of Omar Narváez’s solo home run off Mets starter Tylor Megill. Woodruff retired the first nine men he faced, including five by strikeout, and also retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings before faltering late.
“I like to come at you and like to attack. For the most part through six innings, I was able to do that,” Woodruff said. “I was able to kind of be efficient and keep it at one [run], but just caught too much of the plate in the seventh.
New York improved its home record to 25-11, the second-best home record in the Majors, while the Brewers drop to 26-17 on the road.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday evening’s contest, and 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 31 pictures in total.