CHICAGO (AP) — Rookie slugger Pete Alonso said he began the season not thinking about hitting homers or setting milestones.
That’s becoming more difficult with every prodigious swing.
Alonso hit his 26th homer to set the NL record for most homers before the All-Star Game as the New York Mets routed the Chicago Cubs 10-2 on Saturday.
He broke a tie with Los Angeles’ Cody Bellinger (2017). He’s still seven short of Mark McGwire’s major league record 33 accomplished in 1987.
“I’m playing well, I’m really happy with myself, but I just need to keep plugging along and do the best I can every day,” he said.
The 24-year-old went 2 for 4 with a walk and tied Darryl Strawberry (1983) for the Mets’ rookie record for homers in a season. There are other marks within sight, including the team’s record for homers in the season (41) and the rookie record of 52 by the Yankees’ Aaron Judge.
Alonso said he only knew he was approaching Bellinger because of posts on social media.
“I guess when you hit a lot of homers, there’s a lot of buzz about it,” he said.
Todd Frazier and Wilson Ramos also homered for the Mets, who won consecutive road games for the first time in over two months.
Zack Wheeler (6-5) allowed one run on five hits in seven innings to bounce back after losing his previous two starts. The right-hander retired 15 straight batters from the second through the sixth.
Jeff McNeil went 2 for 4 with three RBI.
New York is 17-26 on the road this season and last won back-to-back away games on April 11 and 12 in Atlanta.
Jason Heyward went 3 for 4 as NL Central-leading Chicago dropped back-to-back home games for the first time in nearly a month.
Cubs starter Jose Quintana (4-7) was roughed up for nine runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. The left-hander allowed a career-high tying three homers despite a steady wind blowing in from right to left at Wrigley Field. He’s lost six straight decisions.
Backup catcher Victor Caratini, who started at first, came in the ninth to make his fourth pitching appearance with Chicago. He tossed a 1-2-3 inning and provided a highlight with a running grab of a dribbler toward third and a jump throw to first to nail Ramos to end the inning.
“We just had a tough day,” manager Joe Maddon said. “They swung the bats really well and they threw a good pitcher. They beat us, they beat us soundly.”
New York scored in each of the first six innings. Alonso began the barrage with a solo blast in the first. McNeil made it 3-0 with two-run single in the second. Frazier’s two-run homer in the third made it 5-0 and provided a comical moment.
After connecting on a 3-1 pitch, Frazier didn’t think he hit it well enough to get through the wind. He tossed his bat in frustration and jogged toward first.
“I should have swung at the 3-0 and I said, ‘Gosh, darn it! I just missed it,’” Frazier said. “I looked up and it went out. I’ll take it. It was a bad acting job by me.”
McNeil added an RBI double in the fourth to make it 6-0. In the fifth, Michael Conforto had an RBI single and Ramos followed with a two-run shot to chase Quintana.
In the sixth, Frazier drove in a run with a two-out infield single against reliever Rowan Wick to make it 10-0.
Marlins 5, Phillies 3
PHILADELPHIA — Wilkin Castillo hit a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning in his first game back in the majors in 10 years, lifting Miami over Philadelphia.
The Phillies have lost six in a row and 15 of 21.
Austin Brice (1-0) struck out two in a perfect sixth for the last-place Marlins, who’ve won three in a row. Wei-Yin Chen tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings and Jose Quijada retired Cesar Hernandez on an infield popup for the final out with the bases loaded for his first save in his seventh big-league appearance.
Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins hit back-to-back homers for the Phillies. JT Riddle hit a solo shot for Miami.
Philadelphia’s Gabe Kapler was ejected for the first time in his managerial career for arguing after Scott Kingery struck out swinging in the fourth.
Phillies starter Vince Velasquez retired 15 of 16 batters, allowing Riddle’s homer and striking out five. The right-hander made a strong case to remain in the rotation.
Pirates 6, Padres 3
PITTSBURGH — Adam Frazier hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth inning and Pittsburgh beat San Diego.
It was 2-all when Starling Marte led off the eighth with a triple against reliever Craig Stammen (5-4). Josh Bell and Corey Dickerson walked to load the bases, and Frazier singled up the middle. Elias Diaz added on with an RBI single and pinch-hitter Jung Ho Kang had a sacrifice fly.
Kyle Crick (3-3) worked around a walk and a hit in the eighth. Felipe Vazquez faced just one batter to earn his 19th save of the season.
Manny Machado opened the scoring with a solo home run in the fourth inning, his 16th of the season the Padres. He also drove in Tatis with a single in the ninth.
Pinch-hitter Jose Osuna’s two-run homer in the fifth inning. It was his major league-high third pinch-hit home run of the season.
Brewers 6, Reds 5
MILWAUKEE — Yasmani Grandal led off for the first time in his career and homered in his opening at-bat to help Milwaukee snap a season-high five-game losing streak.
Grandal put the Brewers ahead 5-4 with an RBI double in the fourth. Two outs later, he scored on Lorenzo Cain’s bloop single that chased Reds starter Luis Castillo (7-2).
NL MVP Christian Yelich scored a run, but went 0 for 3 to end his career-high hitting streak and the longest in the majors at 18 games.
Matt Albers (4-2) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Josh Hader struck out four of the final six outs for his 18th save.
Castillo allowed six runs, four earned, on five hits with five walks and six strikeouts. The loss snapped the Reds’ season-high six-game winning streak.
Eugenio Suarez hit his 16th home run of the season in the third and added a run-scoring groundout in the fifth off Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin. Yasiel Puig hit his 16th homer of the season.
Yankees 7, Astros 5
NEW YORK — Giancarlo Stanton hit a pair of go-ahead, two-run singles, both off third baseman Yuli Gurriel’s glove, and the New York Yankees beat the Houston Astros for their eighth straight win.
The Astros lost their seventh in a row in the matchup of AL division leaders.
Stanton made it 4-2 in the sixth inning with a hard grounder that skipped off Gurriel’s mitt and into shallow left field — ruled a hit on a tough call for the official scorer. Stanton smashed an almost identical ball an inning later, which Gurriel dived for and tipped. That one got past him, too, this time for an undisputed single against Ryan Pressly (1-1) for a 7-5 lead.
Zack Britton let Houston load the bases in the ninth but got Tyler White to hit a game-ending flyout to right for his third save. The Astros stranded 11 runners.
Gio Urshela and Austin Romine went deep for New York, giving the Yankees a homer in 25 straight games. That tied Joe DiMaggio and the 1941 Yankees for most in franchise history. The 2002 Texas Rangers hold the major league mark at 27.
New York’s winning streak includes three victories each against Tampa Bay and Houston, a pair of AL postseason hopefuls. The Yankees will try for a four-game sweep of the Astros on Sunday.
The teams went back and forth in the final innings. Romine hit a solo shot to make it 5-5 in the seventh, a half-inning after Astros rookie Yordan Alvarez drove a go-ahead, three-run homer off Jonathan Holder (5-2). It was Alvarez’s sixth homer in 11 big league games.
Houston left-hander Wade Miley pitched no-hit ball until Urshela’s two-run drive in the fifth. Josh Reddick countered with a two-run shot for Houston a half-inning later, but New York reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Stanton delivered his first two-run single.
Adam Ottavino pitched out of trouble in the eighth for New York, stranding two by striking out Jose Altuve.
Miley retired 10 straight over one stretch and looked sharp most of the night but was charged with four runs in five-plus innings. He struck out seven and walked four.
Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka delivered two-run ball over six innings without his best stuff. He allowed eight hits, struck out one and walked one.
Michael Brantley had three hits, including two shift-beating grounders against Tanaka.
Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 7
BOSTON — Freddy Galvis and Rowdy Tellez hit back-to-back homers to help Toronto rally from a six-run deficit, and Eric Sogard drew a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk to break an eighth-inning tie.
Boston scored five times in the second and led 6-0 after three before its bullpen blew a save for the 15th time in 31 chances. The Blue Jays trailed 6-1 before scoring four in the seventh on two homers and a wild pitch, then added three more in the eighth, when Matt Barnes (3-2) and Ryan Brasier combined to walk four straight batters with two outs.
Nick Kingham (3-1) pitched two hitless innings of relief for Toronto, which won for the second time in six games. Ken Giles pitching the ninth for his 12th save.
Xander Bogaerts tied an AL record with a double in his seventh straight game.
Athletics 4, Rays 2
OAKLAND, Calif. — Matt Chapman homered in the third inning and doubled in the go-ahead run in the seventh, leading Oakland past Tampa Bay.
Ramon Laureano had two hits, was hit by pitches twice — including once with the bases loaded — and threw out a runner from center field for the A’s. Khris Davis singled and scored.
Ji-Man Choi hit his ninth home run and Joey Wendle had two hits for Tampa Bay, which has lost nine of 12.
Yusmeiro Petit (2-1) struck out all four batters he faced for the win. Liam Hendriks retired three batters for his second career save and first since 2017.
Mike Fiers allowed one run over six innings for Oakland. Fiers hit three batters, including Avasail Garcia twice, and walked three.
Yonny Chirinos gave up two runs over six innings and had three strikeouts. Diego Castillo (1-6) took the loss.
Orioles 8, Mariners 3
SEATTLE — Jonathan Villar hit a three-run homer, Anthony Santander had a two-run shot and Baltimore ended a 10-game skid with a win over Seattle.
Andrew Cashner worked six strong innings for the Orioles, who snapped the eighth-longest losing streak in club history. Cashner (7-3) allowed two runs while scattering five hits and striking out three.
Tommy Milone (1-2) held the Orioles without a hit for the first three innings.
Domingo Santana finished 2 for 3 and scored three runs, including his 19th home run of the year for the Mariners, who had their three-game winning streak halted.
Twins 5, Royals 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — C.J. Cron homered and singled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning, and Minnesota beat Kansas City.
Miguel Sano and Jake Cave also homered for the Twins, who blew a 3-0 lead in the eighth before pushing ahead for good in the 10th. Eddie Rosario’s double to deep right off Wily Peralta (2-3) scored Cave for a two-run cushion.
Trevor May (2-1) worked a scoreless ninth and Blake Parker retired the side in the 10th for his 10th save in 11 chances. AL Central-leading Minnesota has won two straight after losing four of its previous five.
Danny Duffy worked eight innings for the Royals, allowing three solo homers and three other hits, walking two and striking out four.
Indians 2, Tigers 0
CLEVELAND — Aaron Civale dazzled in his major league debut, striking out the side to begin the game and allowing just two infield hits over six innings in Cleveland’s win over Detroit.
Civale struck out six, walked three and worked out of a sixth-inning jam.
Jose Ramirez had an RBI triple in the second while Oscar Mercado added an RBI single in the third.
Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull (3-7) allowed two runs in six innings.
Brad Hand — the Indians’ fourth reliever — allowed two hits in the ninth, but picked up his 22nd save in 22 chances.
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected by plate umpire Roberto Ortiz in the fourth inning. It was his sixth ejection of the season
Cardinals 4, Angels 2
ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols took a curtain call for his adoring fans at Busch Stadium after homering against the Cardinals, but Marcell Ozuna connected to lead Dakota Hudson and St. Louis over the Los Angeles Angels.
Pujols hit his 13th home run, a solo drive in the seventh inning. He got a standing ovation as he rounded the bases and the cheers grew louder until Pujols emerged from the dugout and tipped his hat to the sellout crowd.
Ozuna hit his team-leading 20th homer of the season off Felix Pena in the sixth inning to make it 4-0 lead. Ozuna homered for the second straight day.
Hudson (6-3) gave up one run on five hits in a season-high 112-pitch stint. He struck out six and walked one.
Paul Goldschmidt had two hits for St. Louis, which has won five of seven.
Justin Upton also homered for the Angels, a solo shot in the eighth. Pena (5-2) started the third inning in relief of opener Noe Ramirez.