Gators in MLB: Alonso hits 50th home run

New York Mets' Pete Alonso, left, celebrates with Jeff McNeil after hitting a two-run home run off Cincinnati pitcher Sal Romano in the eighth inning Friday in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI — Pete Alonso felt going into the season that reaching 50 home runs was possible.

Now that he’s there, it’s become hard to believe.

New York’s rookie first baseman hit his major league-leading 50th home run, Jacob deGrom pitched shutout ball for seven innings and the Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-1 Friday night.

“It was always in the realm of possibility,” said Alonso, a former standout at the University of Florida. “It’s hard to wrap my mind around it. It means the world to me, but I don’t think I’ll be able to appreciate it until after the season.”

Amed Rosario hit a two-run homer and Jeff McNeil added a solo shot for the Mets, who remained 3 1/2 games behind Milwaukee for the second NL wild card after the Brewers beat the Pirates 10-1.

Cincinnati is 72-82, assuring itself a sixth straight losing season and 16th in 19 seasons.

Alonso is two homers shy of Yankees star Aaron Judge’s 2017 total for the rookie record. The right-handed hitter connected on a two-run blast in the eighth inning against reliever Sal Romano, reaching for a down-and-away fastball and lining it an estimated 437 feet to the faux riverboat smokestacks in right-center field.

“The catcher reached down and to the right and he reached out and flicked it to the steam towers,” New York manager Mickey Callaway said. “It was a well-executed pitch. I don’t know what you do if you’re a pitcher. (Former Red) Todd Frazier said he’s never seen a left-hander hit one there.”

Alonso is the second rookie to reach 50 homers, and he leads Cincinnati’s Eugenio Suarez by two for most in the majors.

The Reds intentionally walked Alonso during New York’s three-run ninth.