Well, well, well… What on Earth happened here?
Full disclosure: I spent this game in a Broadway theater (The Ferryman. I highly recommend it before it closes in July.), so color me a little nonplussed when I saw an in-game score in a Manhattan pub afterwards. I will piece together a recap from MLB Gameday and accompanying video.
The Mets grabbed an early lead when Pete Alonso jumped all over a hanging curve from Jose Quintana and drove his 26th home run over the right center field fence. The 26 home runs ties the Mets’ rookie record set by Darryl Strawberry in 1983…for the whole season. We’re still three weeks from the All-Star break, if you hadn’t noticed. I think it’s a safe bet that Alonso will not go oh-for-three-months in the home run department and a new record will be established. Given a one-run lead, Zack Wheeler shined on this sunny Chicago afternoon. After allowing two singles to start the first, he was able to induce a double-play ball from Javier Baez and strike out Willson Contreras. A Wilson Ramos leadoff walk, an Amed Rosario double and a super-clutch two-out, two-RBI base hit, slapped the other way by Jeff McNeil made it 3-0. Then it was off to the races. Wheeler pitch around trouble again in the second, the Mets tacked on more in the third. J.D. Davis singled to left and Todd Frazier followed that with a Wrigley Special of a homer, a wind-aided fly ball just over the left field fence. Armed with a comfortable 5-0 lead, Wheeler skated through the next five innings. By the time we reached that point, though, the Mets’ bulge had grown to 10-0.
In the fourth, McNeil got another two-out RBI, making Rosario’s leadoff double pay off. In the fifth, Davis reached second on a dropped throw by first baseman Victor Caratini, Michael Conforto singled him home and Ramos knocked one to the middle of the center field bleachers. In the sixth, an Alonso double, a walk to pinch hitter Dom Smith and a replay-aided base hit by Frazier added to the scoring smorgasbord. Wheeler gave up the Cubs’ first run on a double play in the seventh. Mets manager Mickey Callaway, figuring a nine-run lead would be safe, entrusted the rest of the game to his beleaguered bullpen, but this being the Mets and all, well…ya never know. This time, he only needed one body. Chris Flexen pitched around two walks in the eighth, and gave up the final run of the day on a wild pitch following a leadoff double by Jason Heyward.
The Mets will now go for a most difficult — and surprising — series win tomorrow, in a dandy pitching matchup, Jacob deGrom vs. Cole Hamels.