Pete Alonso, New York Mets sweep lowly Cubs with 4-3 victory

Jul 16, 2022, 3:19 AM | Updated: 10:21 pm
New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo scores against the Chicago Cubs during the third inning in the second ...

New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo scores against the Chicago Cubs during the third inning in the second baseball game of a doubleheader in Chicago, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

              New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo scores against the Chicago Cubs during the third inning in the second baseball game of a doubleheader in Chicago, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              New York Mets' Francisco Lindor, left, scores on a throwing error by Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Daniel Norris as catcher Yan Gomes looks to the field during the 10th inning in the second baseball game of a doubleheader in Chicago, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              New York Mets catcher Tomas Nido, left, celebrates with relief pitcher Yoan Lopez after the Mets defeated the Chicago Cubs in the second baseball game of a doubleheader in Chicago, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Chicago Cubs manager David Ross looks to the field before the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the New York Mets in Chicago, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              New York Mets manager Buck Showalter watches players during the second inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs in Chicago, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              New York Mets' Pete Alonso, right, dives safely back to second base as Chicago Cubs second baseman Christopher Morel applies a late tag during the fourth inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader in Chicago, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman throws against the New York Mets during the second inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader in Chicago, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              New York Mets starting pitcher Taijuan Walker throws against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader in Chicago, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              New York Mets' Francisco Lindor celebrates with teammates after scoring on a one-run double by Pete Alonso during the fourth inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs in Chicago, Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — Pete Alonso was hit by a bases-loaded pitch from Mychal Givens in the 10th inning, and the New York Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 on Saturday night to complete a doubleheader sweep.

Led by Alonso and Eduardo Escobar, New York stretched its win streak to four in a row and moved 24 games over .500 for the first time since it was 92-58 on Sept. 19, 2006. It also increased its NL East lead to 2 1/2 games over second-place Atlanta.

The lowly Cubs have dropped nine in a row for their worst slide since they lost 10 straight in June. Givens (5-2) was charged with each loss in the doubleheader.

Chicago had the bases loaded in the 10th in the second game, but Frank Schwindel bounced to third baseman Escobar for the start of a game-ending double play. A jubilant Escobar celebrated after completing the throw to first.

In the opener, Alonso hit a sacrifice fly in the 11th inning after Adam Ottavino worked out of a tricky jam, helping the Mets to a 2-1 victory. Alonso drove in three runs on the day to get to 77 RBIs, snapping a tie with David Wright for the franchise record before the All-Star break.

The big first baseman was grazed on his left arm by Givens’ 0-2 pitch in the 10th in Game 2, driving in Brandon Nimmo for a 3-2 lead. Another run scored when reliever Daniel Norris committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt at second.

The Cubs got one back in the bottom half on Christopher Morel’s RBI single off Yoan López (1-0). But they blew a golden opportunity for more, a recurring theme during a difficult season.

New York ace Max Scherzer struck out 11 in 6 1/3 innings in the second game in his 108th double-digit strikeout performance, tying Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez for fourth-most in big league history. He allowed eight hits and walked one while throwing 102 pitches, 74 for strikes.

The biggest problem for the three-time Cy Young Award winner was old friend Yan Gomes, who caught Scherzer when the two played in Washington. Gomes hit an RBI double in the second and run-scoring single in the fourth to account for Chicago’s two runs against the right-hander.

New York countered with Francisco Lindor’s run-scoring groundout in the third and Escobar’s 11th homer in the fourth, a laser to left against Drew Smyly with the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field.

Chicago had five hits in the opener, one more than New York. The Cubs had a chance to close it out in the 10th, but Ottavino (4-2) retired three in a row after pinch-runner Nelson Velázquez stole third.

“A lot of it kind of depends on where the balls are hit, so it’s not all up to you,” Ottavino said. “But you got to try to attack and do your best with it, and I was lucky to get out of there.”

Patrick Wisdom struck out swinging and P.J. Higgins looked at a called third strike. Morel then hit a grounder to third, and Escobar made a scrambling stop and a one-hop throw that a stretching J.D. Davis backhanded at first.

Davis entered the game when Dominic Smith rolled his right ankle while scrambling back to second as the automatic runner in the 10th.

“It was just one of those days where we didn’t score that many runs but played great defense and the pitching did their job,” Davis said.

All-Star closer Edwin Díaz got three outs for his 20th save.

New York got another solid performance by Taijuan Walker, who pitched six innings of four-hit ball. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last seven starts.

“I finally feel like I’ve been able to put everything together,” Walker said.

Cubs right-hander Marcus Stroman pitched 4 1/3 innings of one-hit ball in his second start since coming off the injured list. He had been sidelined by right shoulder inflammation.

Stroman played for New York in 2019 and 2021 before signing with Chicago in December. He brushed off the significance of facing his former team.

“It’s the same mentality, mind frame for me going into each and every game,” he said.

Cubs manager David Ross was ejected by umpire Ramon De Jesus after the second inning. Each side had issues with De Jesus’ strike zone at various points.

Ross also was ejected from the series opener. Friday afternoon’s game was postponed by rain, leading to the doubleheader.

“There were two balls to Higgy that were balls, and I was just saying, ‘Hey, that should have been 2-0,'” Ross said. “He threw me out. I didn’t cuss or didn’t say anything derogatory. I don’t know if it was a carryover from the other day, getting ejected.”

MAKING MOVES

The Cubs brought up left-hander Steven Brault from Triple-A Iowa. Right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. was sent down, and right-hander Matt Swarmer was designated for assignment.

Right-hander Anderson Espinoza served as the 27th man for the Cubs for the doubleheader, and López was the 27th man for the Mets.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (stress reaction, right scapula) is slated to throw live BP on Tuesday in Florida. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner pitched four innings of one-run ball in a rehab start for Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday. … Smith had a little swelling, and manager Buck Showalter said he was going to get a picture of his injured ankle. “He rolled it pretty good,” Showalter said.

UP NEXT

Mets left-hander David Peterson (5-2, 3.48 ERA) and Cubs right-hander Adrian Sampson (0-1, 3.33 ERA) take the mound for Sunday’s series finale.

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Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap

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