The official Home Run Derby at Marlins Park occurred three years ago before the All-Star Game, but the unofficial version, featuring two prominent Mets, was underway Monday night.
Robinson Cano and Pete Alonso turned Miami’s empty Fish Tank (just like old times) into a launching pad, jump-starting a Mets lineup that spent the weekend searching for a jolt.
With Cano and Alonso each blasting two homers, the Mets rolled to an 11-4 victory that snapped their three-game losing streak.
Cano, who is hitting .412, continued his sizzling play, but the better sign for the Mets (10-14) was the breakout from Alonso, who entered the night still searching for his swing after a disappointing stretch to begin the season.
The Mets received a strong bullpen effort from Chasen Shreve, Jeurys Familia, Brad Brach and Franklyn Kilome after Robert Gsellman labored early and was knocked out after recording only five outs. The lefty Shreve, in particular, was effective with five strikeouts over 2 ¹/₃ scoreless innings. The rookie Kilome pitched the final three innings and allowed two runs to earn his first major league save.
Gsellman, who moved last week from the bullpen to the rotation, had a second straight abbreviated start, lasting only 1 ²/₃ innings in which he allowed one run on three hits, two walks and a hit batsman. The right-hander was removed after throwing 47 pitches. In his initial start of the season, against the Nationals last Wednesday, he was removed after throwing 33 pitches in two innings.
Dominic Smith’s two-run double in the second got the party started for the Mets, who had loaded the bases with nobody out against Jordan Yamamoto. Michael Conforto and Alonso walked in the inning — with Cano’s single sandwiched in between — before Smith continued his torrid play with a shot to right that extended his team lead in RBIs to 18.
Amed Rosario received a gift RBI double later in the inning, giving the Mets a 3-1 lead, as Jon Berti turned in the wrong direction on a drive to right.
Cano’s first homer of the night, a line-drive that just cleared the right-center fence, gave the Mets a 5-1 lead after J.D. Davis was drilled by a pitch to begin the inning. Alonso’s solo homer in the fifth extended that lead.
The Mets turned it into a runaway in the sixth when Cano and Alonso hit consecutive homers. Cano finished with four RBIs in his first start at second base since returning from the injured list on Friday. He had started the previous three games as the DH. The multi-homer game was Cano’s second with the Mets — last year he blasted three homers in a game against the Padres.
Alonso, who entered batting .214 with three homers, was on the bench Sunday for a mental break as the Mets lost to complete a three-game Phillies sweep.
In those three games the Mets scored nine runs and continued their season-long habit of struggling with runners in scoring position.
“It’s been a mix of a few different things,” Conforto said before the game when asked to pinpoint the team’s struggles this season. “We’re only 20-something games in and that is over a third of the season, but in baseball you kind of gradually have to get hot at some points of the year, so we just have to put it all together.”