If the Mets aren’t going to get to the playoffs, they can at least make it more difficult for teams still in the race.
That’s what they did against the Cubs, who had won five of six after the trade deadline before they arrived Monday at Citi Field, where the Mets beat them Wednesday night, 4-3, to win the series after they came in having lost six straight games.
As long as the Mets have Pete Alonso in the lineup, they have a chance to make waves.
Alonso homered for the fourth time in three games against the Cubs with a fourth-inning, two-run blast that tied the score at 2-2.
Jeff McNeil then hit a go-ahead home run to lead off the sixth inning after Alonso’s 35th homer of the season put some life into what had been another quiet night at Citi Field.
And the Mets held on even after Adam Ottavino allowed a homer and left with two on and no out in the ninth.
Phil Bickford retired three of the four batters he faced to pick his first save with the Mets.
After a sacrifice bunt by Nick Madrigal moved both runners up, Bickford struck out Christopher Morel.
He walked Nico Hoerner but fanned Ian Happ to end it.
Alonso continued his belated resurgence after he had gone through a lengthy dry spell from the end of May until mid-July, with a .554 OPS over a 34-game span.
He snapped out of it with a pair of five-RBI games in late July and his power surge has continued.
“I don’t think people realize how much him struggling when the team struggled hurt him,” manager Buck Showalter said before the game.
Lately, Alonso has been back to his usual form.
His recent spurt also gave Alonso 181 homers for his career, good for fifth on the all-time franchise list and seven behind Howard Johnson, who’s in fourth.
“It gets your attention,” Showalter said of Alonso’s march up the list. “There have been some great hitters here with power. Pete’s doing it in a ballpark where you have to earn every one of them.”
Darryl Strawberry’s franchise record of 252 homers is well within reach for the first baseman — if he sticks around in Queens.
Alonso can be a free agent for the first time after next season.
“He’s gonna have quite a legacy when all is said and done,” Showalter said. “He already does.”
But this season won’t help Alonso’s postseason numbers, since the Mets will be playing out the string for the next seven-plus weeks.
Aside from seeing if Alonso can stay hot, the Mets will also be looking at David Peterson, who is back in the rotation after the trades of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
The lefty made his second start Wednesday since his brief stint in the bullpen and wasn’t especially effective.
Peterson gave up a homer to Morel on his first pitch of the game, but then struck out the next three hitters.
He was dinged again in the second, this time on a one-out triple by Seiya Suzuki.
Suzuki quickly scored on a Francisco Alvarez passed ball to make it 2-0.
Peterson pitched around a pair of walks in the third and was removed from the game with two outs in the fourth after he allowed back-to-back singles.
Grant Hartwig got the final out of the inning, giving the Mets a chance to come back.
Alonso evened the score in the bottom of the inning with his homer, which came after a leadoff single by Francisco Lindor, who was nearly picked off first by Kyle Hendricks.
After Lindor initially was ruled out, the Mets challenged the call and it was overturned.
The Mets then took the lead in the sixth against former Yankees prospect Hayden Wesneski, who allowed all four batters he faced to reach base.
McNeil gave the Mets the lead with a home run to start the inning and Abraham Almonte followed with a double.
Mark Vientos then hit a grounder to short and reached on a fielder’s choice, as Almonte beat the throw to third. A run-scoring single by Jonathan Arauz made it 4-2.