Pete Alonso hit two home runs to take the major league lead, Jacob deGrom struck out 11 and the Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-1, Monday night in the opener of a crucial four-game series for both teams.
The Diamondbacks began the day one and a half games behind the Cubs for the second N.L. wild-card spot and the Mets trailed Chicago by four. The Cubs played later at San Diego.
Alonso hit a solo drive in the first inning, then connected for his 47th home run in the fifth. He moved two ahead Mike Trout for most in the majors and closed within five of Aaron Judge’s rookie record of 52 set two years ago.
Alonso recorded his fourth career multi-homer game. The first baseman also set a team record by reaching base safely in his 34th consecutive game.
DeGrom (9-8) allowed one run and three hits in seven innings. His lone blemish was a home run to his former teammate Wilmer Flores in the fifth.
Flores was making his first appearance in Citi Field since signing with Arizona in the off-season. He tipped his helmet after receiving a standing ovation before his first at-bat in the second inning.
Flores also got video tribute before the game that ended with Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You” playing as the video board showed him embracing Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo.
“It’s awesome,” Flores said before the game. “New York is always going to be home.”
DeGrom, however, was too much for the rest of the Diamondbacks. He recorded his 41st career double-digit strikeout game and struck out multiple batters in four different innings.
Seth Lugo pitched two innings for his fifth save.
Amed Rosario added a run-scoring single between the Alonso homers.
Arizona’s Merrill Kelly (10-14) allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings and the surging Diamondbacks fell to 11-3 in their last 14 games. This is the first time Arizona has lost consecutive games since Aug. 21-24.