Pete Alonso Hits 52nd Homer to Tie Aaron Judge’s MLB Rookie Home Run Record

Pete Alonsois one homer away from making history on his own…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American New York Metsslugger hit his 52nd homer of the season, tying New York Yankees star Aaron Judge‘s total from 2017 for most by a rookie.

Alonso lined an 0-1 fastball from Atlanta Bravesleft-hander Dallas Keuchelnarrowly over the wall in left field in the first inning Friday night. He smiled as he hurried around the bases and pointed to the home fans as he crossed the plate. Teammates greeted him with handshakes outside the dugout, and the crowd at Citi Fieldinsisted on a curtain call.

“Unbelievable. When I was rounding the bases I felt like a little kid. I felt like a 7-year-old kid,” Alonso said. “I was just really kind of overcome with pure joy and emotion. I don’t think I’ve had a happier time in my life playing baseball. That is the ultimate. That’s what dreams are made of. It’s unbelievable that it happened. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Keuchel was booed when he walked Alonso in the third inning, and the big slugger popped up and struck out in his final two at-bats. The Mets won 4-2.

Alonso leads the CincinnatiReds’ Eugenio Suarezby three for the majors’ home run lead and would be the first rookie since at least 1900 to claim the big league crown outright. Manager Mickey Callawaysaid he might bat Alonso leadoff in the final two games to get him extra at-bats, and Alonso was eager to slide up a spot.

A history major in college with “an affinity for that kind of stuff,” Alonso said he’s struggling to comprehend the accomplishment.

“When I think of baseball history, I think old-timey guys like Lou GehrigBabe RuthBarry Bonds,” Alonso said. “Geez, I mean, to think that as a rookie I hit more homers than everyone except for one guy, it’s nuts. It’s crazy. I’m not trying to sound any other way. It’s just, wow.”

Judge, who has struggled with injuries the past two seasons, has 26 homers in 100 games in 2019. He predicted late Friday night that Alonso would break the rookie record.

“No better person to share it with. He’s eventually going to break it, I know that for sure,” Judge said. “Happy for him. I had a chance to meet him this year and talk to him a little bit, and no better individual to represent not only the Mets but the city of New York. He’s going to do a lot of special things over his long career. I’m excited for him. This is just the beginning for him, the first of many records he’s going to break.”

Alonso has already set franchise records for homers, total bases (343) and extra-base hits (84). He has 119 RBIs and 100 runs, becoming the first Mets rookie to reach triple digits in both categories. No New York player had reached those totals in any season since David Wrightand Carlos Beltranin 2008. The 119 RBIs put Alonso just five away from matching Wright’s all-time single-season franchise record.

“He’s been outstanding,” Callaway said. “There’s just something about Pete that draws everybody in.”

Alonso’s 52nd homer also tied him with for second-most all time in a player’s first season with a team. Alex Rodriguezhit 52 in 2001, his first season with the Texas Rangers. Babe Ruth holds the record with 54 homers for the Yankees in 1920, after he was traded from the Boston Red Sox.

New York trailed the National League East-champion Braves 2-1 after Alonso’s homer.

In a record season for home runs in the majors, Alonso’s long ball feat wasn’t the only one achieved Tuesday night. The Yankees got in on the fun when they became the second team in MLB history with 300 homers in a season. They joined the Minnesota Twins, who reached the mark on Thursday.

Yadier Molina Leads MLB All-Stars to Victory Over Japan

Yadier Molina has help the MLB All-Stars get an important win against Japan…

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican Major League Baseball player, a catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, had three hits, including a three-run homer, to help the MLB All-Stars defeat Japan 7-3 on Sunday for their first win of the six-game exhibition series after a pair of defeats.

Yadier MolinaJ.T. Realmuto hit an opposite-field solo home run to right field in the fourth at Tokyo Dome, and Mitch Haniger scored the go-ahead run from second in a four-run fifth when Japan starter Shinsaburo Tawata threw wildly for an error.

One out later, Molina chased Tawata with an opposite-field, three-run homer to right for a 5-1 lead.

The nine-time Gold Glove catcher picked off Seiji Uebayashi in the fourth inning.

“I felt like Yadi’s pick at first was huge,” MLB manager Don Mattingly said. “We got in a little bit of a jam, pitch count is starting to climb, then Yadi’s pick.”

Rookie Juan Soto hit a fly ball in the fourth that was headed for the seats but hit the roof and was caught by right fielder Shogo Akiyama. Soto also hit the roof in Thursday’s warm-up game against the Yomiuri Giants.

Winner Scott Barlow allowed one run and five hits in 4 1/3 innings and 65 pitches, striking out four.

“Having Yadi back there makes my life a lot easier,” Barlow said. “I trust him very much, and I trusted my defense as well. Not being afraid of contact and letting them run down balls and make their plays.”

Eugenio Suarez hit an RBI double over Uebayashi in left in a two-run seventh then scored on Haniger’s single to open a 7-1 lead.

Hotaka Yamakawa and Ryosuke Kikuchi hit run-scoring doubles in the ninth against John Brebbia. Tawata took the loss.

The teams play Tuesday in Hiroshima then conclude the following two days in Nagoya.

Eugenio Suarez Agrees to a 7-Year, $66 Million Deal with the Cincinnati Reds

Eugenio Suarez is seeing Reds in his future…

The 26-year-old Venezuelan baseball player has agreed to a seven-year, $66 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds that makes him part of the foundation for team’s long-term rebuilding.

Eugenio Suarez

The deal supersedes the $3.75 million, one-year contract Suarez was awarded when he lost his salary arbitration case last month.

There’s a team option for 2025 at $15 million — with a $2 million buyout — that would make the deal worth $79 million over eight years.

The Reds started an overhaul in 2015, trading most of their top players for prospects. They have lost more than 90 games and finished last in the National League Central each of the past three seasons.

“We are sending a signal to the fans that the work that we’ve put in the last couple years is starting to come together,” general manager Dick Williams said. “We’re starting to identify the building blocks that we want to build this team around. Geno is one of them. We’re ready to start winning again and we want Geno to be a part of it.”

Suarez gets a $2 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of the deal’s approval by the commissioner’s office and salaries of $2.25 million this year, $7 million in 2019, $9.25 million in 2020, $10.5 million in 2021 and $11 million each of the next three years.

It’s the largest contract the Reds have agreed to during the rebuilding process.

Cincinnati obtained Suarez from the Detroit Tigers in December 2014 as part of the trade that sent right-hander Alfredo Simon to the Tigers. Suarez was a shortstop earlier in his career, but the Reds moved him to third base after Todd Frazier was traded.

He has developed into a top third baseman, leading the NL in fielding percentage last season. He also batted .260 and had career highs with 26 homers and 82 RBIs. Suarez and the Reds began talking about a long-term deal before arbitration.

“It’s an honor for me to be part of this wonderful team,” Suarez said.

Fernandez Ties Modern Record for Most Consecutive Home Victories by a Starter

Jose Fernandez is pitching his way into the MLB history books…

The 22-year-old Cuban baseball pitcher threw for seven innings Thursday and tied the modern record for most consecutive home victories by a starter to begin a career, helping the Miami Marlins beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-0.

Jose Fernandez

Fernandez won for the second time in two outings since his return from Tommy John surgery. He allowed six hits, struck out nine and improved to 14-0 in 22 career starts at Marlins Park.

The only other pitcher since 1914 to win his first 14 home decisions as a starter was Johnny Allen of the New York Yankees in 1932-33, according to STATS. Fernandez lowered his home ERA to 1.17.

On the road he’s 4-8 with an ERA of 3.93. Does he get more amped pitching at home?

“It looks like it,” he said. “I’m just lucky to be out there on that mound.”

Fernandez, who defected from Cuba a decade ago, has been a fan favorite in Miami since his rookie season in 2013. He was enthusiastically supported by the crowd of 25,027, larger than normal for the attendance-challenged Marlins.

“It was fantastic. I love it,” he said. “Sometimes I look in the stands and see the kids laughing and saying my name, and it’s really special. Knowing everything I’ve been through, I really appreciate it.”

All-Star Dee Gordon stole three bases, scored both runs and broke the Marlins record for hits before the All-Star break with 119. Miami snapped a four-game losing streak.

Working on six days’ rest, Fernandez faced his biggest jam when he allowed singles by Marlon Byrd and Eugenio Suarez on consecutive pitches in the seventh. Tucker Barnhart then grounded into a double play, ending the inning and Fernandez’s night.

“We’ve seen him before, and we know he’s good,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He didn’t make any fatal mistakes by walking people, falling behind or giving up the big hit that could have done the damage and gotten us back in the game.”

Fernandez, who threw 94 pitches, was still reaching 96 mph in the seventh and mixed in lots of off-speed stuff. He walked none and has yet to walk a batter in 13 innings this season — all at home.

“He loves Miami, that’s all I can say,” manager Dan Jennings said. “There’s a little bit of an aura when he pitches at home.”

Fernandez struck out Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Eugenio Suarez twice each.

“He’s Fernandez — that’s all you need to know,” said Billy Hamilton, who had an infield single off the Marlins ace. “He’s a great pitcher. With this guy, you don’t know what you’re going to get. He can throw any of his pitches at any time during the count. You have to be ready for anything.”