Power Hitting Prevails In U.S. Futures Game Win
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Futures Game quickly began to resemble a home run derby rather than an actual game on Sunday at Nationals Park.
For Peter Alonso, that meant it was right up his alley.
Alonso’s titanic home run in the seventh inning was the final and most emphatic of eight home runs hit in the game and cemented a 10-6 victory for the U.S over the World in the Futures Game.
Alonso’s towering 415-foot homer off Adonis Medina traveled well over the left-field bleachers and onto the walking concourse beyond the seats. It came off the bat at 113.6 mph, making it the hardest hit ball of the day. After two lead changes and three tie scores, it effectively served as the death blow for a feisty World Team and solidified the eighth win in the last nine Futures Games for the U.S.
"It felt like a lightning bolt hit the tip of my bat,” said Alonso, the Mets' No. 2 prospect. "That was awesome. I lost it to be honest. I just saw it stay fair and I was just like, ‘Hell yeah.’ That definitely tops all my home runs I’ve hit.”
Alonso’s blast was a fitting end to a day balls flew out left and right. Yusniel Diaz hit two home runs and Seuly Matias and Luis Alexander Basabe each hit one for the World. Danny Jansen, Ke’Bryan Hayes and Taylor Trammell all homered for the U.S. preceding Alonso.
In all, 13 of the combined 16 runs in the game scored on home runs.
"I mean everyone was hitting them,” Alonso said. "So I was just like I gotta hit one farther.”
Alonso’s home run was the hardest hit of the day, but it wasn’t the longest. That title belonged to Trammell, whose 438-foot blast to center field in the sixth inning snapped a 5-5 tie. Trammell narrowly missed a second home run in the eighth, lining a shot deep to center that hit high off the wall and bounced into the gap. Trammell, who jogged out of the box thinking he had a homer, settled for a standup triple.
He finished 2-for-2 with a triple, home run and two runs scored and was named the game's MVP.
"I was actually very nervous coming into the game,” said the Reds' No. 2 prospect. "I see guys that are very talented … and I was just kind of nervous coming into the game and everything and trying to clear my mind as much as possible. So going out there and winning the award, I was speechless and I just had the time of my life today. I can’t believe that actually happened right now.”
Trammell wasn’t the only Reds prospect to generate buzz at the game.
Righthander Hunter Greene entered in the third inning for the U.S. and owned the radar gun and the crowd’s attention, even if the results weren’t sterling.
Greene came on with one out in the third and promptly delivered fastballs at 100.9 mph, 102.4 mph and 101.7 mph for his first three pitches.
He threw 19 fastballs, and every single one was 100 mph or higher. His fastest clocked in at 103.1 mph.
But he threw more balls (14) than strikes (13) and finished with 1.1 innings, two hits and one run allowed, one walk, one hit batter, and one strikeout.
One of his fastballs, a 102.3 mph heater, found too much of the inside corner against Basabe, and the White Sox outfield prospect pounded it deep into the right-center field stands for a two-run home run that gave the World a 3-1 lead.
Pete Alonso Wins 2019 National League Rookie of the Year
Alonso fell just short of unanimous selection. Mike Soroka received one first-place vote and 25 second-place votes.
"I was nervous, but I inhaled, and then I hit the ball out,” Basabe said. "They told me it was 101 (mph) when it hit the barrel. I'm not surprised. I know I can hit it, but you have to do everything perfect. I just thinking be early and get the barrel on the ball.”
Even with middling results, Greene’s velocity was center stage in the clubhouse buzz postgame.
"I mean the guy's pumping 102, he hit 103 and he didn’t throw a fastball under 100. He’s 18. What is this?” Trammell quipped.
Basabe’s blast gave the World its first lead, but it was only temporary. Hayes and Jansen each hit two-run homers into the left field stands off Lewis Thorpe in the fourth inning to put the U.S. back in front 5-3.
That’s when Diaz made his presence felt. He turned around a 96 mph fastball from Matt Manning and sent it over the wall in right-center for a game-tying, two-out, two-run shot in the fifth. After the U.S. retook the lead 6-5 on Trammell’s sixth-inning homer, Diaz responded in kind with another two-out, game-tying homer, this one a 408-foot blast to dead center off Shaun Anderson and that sailed over the glove of a wall-climbing Buddy Reed.
But Jo Adell led off the seventh with a double to right, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch to give the U.S. the lead back at 7-6. Immediately after the wild pitch, with Brendan Rodgers on first, Alonso stepped the plate, and hit the home run that shut door on the World.
"I’m just really happy I got to enjoy that moment,” Alonso said. "That was really special.”