It’s been 50 years since the Mets’ 1969 World Series Championship, and what better way to kick off the anniversary than a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves in the first spring training game — a sellout of 7,134 fans — at First Data Field.
It was Pete Alonso who shined, as he knocked a ball out of the park on the first pitch he saw to bring in J.D. Davis and tie the game at 2 in the bottom of the second.
Alonso, who is trying to make his case to start at first base in the season opener against the Washington Nationals, said, “We’re called hitters, we’re not takers. So if we can get a good pitch, might as well take our chance at it.”
The rookie showed resilience and maturity hitting the home run, especially because in the top of the second, Alonso could not make a play at first after shortstop Amed Rosario made a play in the dirt and fired the ball to try to get the runner out.
That same inning, Alonso saved Davis from an error after stretching to grab a high throw from the third baseman.
Greyson Jenista put the Braves on board with a second inning sac-fly to center to bring in Rafael Ortega. Drew Lugbauer then singled to center to bring in Alex Johnson.
The Mets instructed outfielders not to throw beyond the cutoff man for the first half of camp, which is why Juan Lagares did not have much of an opportunity to prevent either run from scoring.
Newly-acquired veteran Robinson Cano made his debut in blue and orange for the Amazins and made an immediate impact, singling inJeff McNeil to break the tie in the bottom of the third.
Rymer Liriano tacked on a run in the sixth inning after he hit a home run to center field.
The Braves got one back in the top of the eighth when Connor Lien hit one out of the park with two outs, but the Mets were able to hold off the Braves for the final four outs of the game.
It was not starting pitcher Walker Lockett who got the win, but instead veteran reliever Hector Santiago, who signed a minor league deal with the Mets in January.
Photo via @Mets Twitter