CLEVELAND - Pete Alonso took one final swing and flipped his bat high in the air. Another walk-off.
As the crowd roared, the New York Mets rookie headed toward the mound and tightly squeezed his cousin and pitcher Derek Morgan, who had helped him win the All-Star Home Run Derby and $1 million.
Alonso outlasted a worn-down fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the final round Monday night to take home a prize that nearly doubled his 2019 salary.
With just seconds to spare, Alonso connected for a homer to left-center to edge Guerrero 23-22 after the Blue Jays’ powerhouse put on a historic display by hitting 91 homers before he ran out of gas following an epic semifinal matchup against Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson.
“There’s so many guys that just put on a show, like Joc, he was amazing, Vladdy, they did such a good job,” Alonso said. “Everybody put on a show. To me it didn’t really seem like the jitters were there, because everyone was awesome. I mean everyone was showing their stuff.”
After his last homer cleared the wall, Alonso was swarmed by the NL All-Stars who along with a crowd of 36,119 fans were treated to a power display unlike any in the event’s history.
“This was surreal,” Alonso said.
Alonso is the second rookie to win outright, following Yankees star Aaron Judge in 2017. He’s also the first Mets player to win the derby since Darryl Strawberry shared the title with Wally Joyner in 1986.
Alonso, making the major league minimum of $555,000 this season, has hit 30 home runs. The first baseman will showcase his swing again in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game as baseball continues this season of the longball.
One of the only bright spots this season for the struggling Mets, Alonso gave New York’s NL fans something to brag about while the Yankees chase another title.
He showed some dramatic flair with two nail-biting wins to reach the final against Guerrero. He nipped Cleveland’s Carlos Santana 14-13 in the first round and Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. 20-19 in the second to set up a showdown with the 20-year-old Guerrero, whose Hall of Fame father won the event in 2007.
With one of baseball’s most fearsome swings, Guerrero figured to be a force but there was no way of predicting he’d hit 91 homers — 74 more than his dad’s entire total 12 years ago.
Following the event, Guerrero slowly walked to his chair in the clubhouse and sat down.
“I was kind of scared he was going to beat me because he was hitting second,” Guerrero said through a translator.
“It was back-and-forth and back-and forth. It was really tiring.”