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Mets’ Pete Alonso sets NL rookie home run record

The former Plant High and Florida Gator first baseman slugs his 40th of the season.
The Mets' Pete Alonso slugs a solo home run in the ninth against the Royals on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. It's the Tampa native's 40th home run, breaking the National League record for most homers in a season by a rookie. [ORLIN WAGNER   |   Associated Press]
The Mets' Pete Alonso slugs a solo home run in the ninth against the Royals on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. It's the Tampa native's 40th home run, breaking the National League record for most homers in a season by a rookie. [ORLIN WAGNER | Associated Press]
Published Aug. 19, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pete Alonso wasn’t even sure he was going to make the Mets’ opening day roster, so even he never could have imagined the incredible season he’s having.

The burly first baseman hit his 40th home run to break the National League rookie record, capping a late outburst by the New York in its 11-5 victory over Kansas City on Sunday.

“This season’s been unbelievable,” said the former Plant High and Florida standout. “It’s been a dream come true so far, and I just want to keep building off of it and keep trying to help this team win.”

Michael Conforto hit a long homer in the first inning and drove in four runs. Amed Rosario put the Mets ahead 6-4 with a two-run single in the seventh, and Alonso went deep in the ninth.

Alonso quickly fell behind 0-2 in the count, but when Royals pitcher Jacob Barnes threw a high fastball, Alonso didn’t miss it.

“I was just trying to hit the ball hard like I have been,” Alonso said. “Take good, quality swings at good pitches and, thankfully, he gave me a fastball up in the zone, which I like to swing at.”

The result was a no-doubt shot over the bullpen in leftfield that snapped a tie with Cody Bellinger, who hit 39 home runs for the Dodgers in 2017 on the way to winning rookie of the year honors.

“It was a pretty grand one,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said of of Alonso’s shot. “It went a long way, it seemed like.”

The record home run ball was given to Alonso by a family of Royals fans who had retrieved it. Alonso, in gratitude, gave them a signed bat, cleats and autographed baseballs.

“I’m just really thankful that they did that,” he said of the fans. “That was a real classy move, for sure.”

Next up for the 24-year-old from Tampa is the Mets’ season record of 41 home runs set by Todd Hundley in 1996 and equaled by Carlos Beltran a decade later. Then maybe the MLB rookie record of 52 set by the Yankees’ Aaron Judge in 2017.

“There have been so many Mets greats,” Alonso said. “That’s even more mind-boggling. I’m just really grateful and thankful that I’ve had this opportunity.”

New York, in the middle of a crowded NL wild-card race thanks to its second-half surge, completed a 3-3 road trip and improved to 24-10 since the All-Star break.

Alonso also had an RBI double and scored three times during his second consecutive three-hit game. Rosario had three hits and three RBIs in the leadoff spot, and Joe Panik added three hits as the top four batters in the Mets’ lineup combined to go 11-for-18 with nine RBIs and seven runs.

“When we’re locked in and try to put good at-bats together and hit the ball hard and not try to do too much, I mean, we can be really dangerous,” Alonso said. “Today we showed that.”

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