WASHINGTON — Pete Alonso had homered 106 times in his more than three major league seasons, but never with loaded bases.
That changed Saturday night when the Mets slugger found a 91-mile fastball from Joan Adon up in the strike zone and sent a towering flyball down left field, which carried further and curled a few rows deep behind the fence at the Nationals Park nestled.
Alonso had his first career grand slam, and the Mets were in control of their third straight win earlier in the season, 5-0 over the Nationals.
Alonso’s fifth-inning punch was enough support for Chris Bassitt, who dazzled on his Mets debut with six innings of shutouts, allowing three hits and eight with a walk. Bassitt became the second Mets starting pitcher in the series to give the team a scoreless outing: Trevor Megill fired five shutout innings in Thursday’s opener.
Drew Smith, Joely Rodriguez and Adam Ottavino each played a scoreless inning in relief, helping the Mets to their first 3-0 start since 2012.
In a DH appearance that allowed Dominic Smith to play first base, Alonso continued his hot streak early in the season. He had entered 3-for-9 with a double as his only extra base hit.
Last season, Alonso was among the few Mets hitters to live up to his potential. It was a season in which he blew 37 homers to carry a lineup that underperformed on several levels. His spring began with a scare: He was involved in a car accident in Tampa while driving to camp and had to kick in his vehicle’s windshield to escape after it overturned several times. The accident happened after another driver ran a traffic light and T-Bone’d Alonso’s vehicle.
A frightening event of a different kind found Alonso on Thursday when he was struck in the protective jaw cover by a Mason Thompson pitch that first skimmed over his arm. Alonso suffered a split lip but avoided serious injury.
James McCann’s leadoff single in the fifth started the Mets’ big inning. Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor each walked and loaded the bases against Adon before Alonso delivered with the blast.
Bassitt, who the Mets took on for Oakland pitching prospects JT Ginn and Adam Oller early in spring practice, was under little threat. The Nationals never had a runner on third base against him, and each of their three hits was a single.
Bassitt used the curveball as his weapon of choice, particularly to escape the fourth inning with runners on base. After beating Nelson Cruz and Lane Thomas in slow turns, Bassitt put Maikel Franco up front in another, knocking him out with a fly-out. Juan Soto’s infield single and Josh Bell’s walk had given the Nationals their first threat.
Lindor, covering second base, dropped a throw from Jeff McNeil in the first, but Bassitt got the next hitter, Bell, to bat in a double play at the innings end. Cesar Hernandez’s leadoff infield single gave the Nationals their inning baserunner.
A night after the benches emptied when Lindor was hit in the jaw (or a projective covering extending from his helmet; he’s not sure which), there was relative calm. Starling Marte was knocked in the butt by a 76 mph off-speed pitch by Adon in the third inning, but it barely generated a wave.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/09/pete-alonsos-first-grand-slam-propels-mets-past-nationals/ Pete Alonso’s first Grand Slam pushes the Mets past the Nationals