Peter Alonso stepped to the plate with two outs in the eighth inning Tuesday afternoon, just a triple away from accomplishing something he'd never done in his professional career -- hit for the cycle.
After jumping ahead, 3-0, the first baseman looked at a strike, then swung over the top of a breaking ball to bring the count full. He turned on the 3-2 offering and sent a nubbler down the third base line as he legged out a single.
Alonso fell short of the milestone, but the infield knock gave the Mets' No. 2 prospect his third career four-hit game and first this season, while his four RBIs proved vital as Triple-A Las Vegas outlasted Iowa, 9-6, at Principal Park. The teams combined for 23 hits.
Video: Alonso bashes three-run shot for Las Vegas
"When he hits the ball, he hits it hard, but he's been a little unlucky and hitting it right at someone. [Tuesday], he was able to hit and get some hits and that was good to see for him," 51s hitting coach Joel Chimelis said. "He's really been improving every day since he got here, and we've been working on drills every day and you can see how hard he works and how much he's progressed, especially with his approach and the mental aspect of hitting."
The 23-year-old raised his batting average 17 points to .247 in 43 games since being promoted to the Pacific Coast League on June 16. He has nine multi-hit efforts with the 51s, including five with at least three knocks. He has 13 hits over his last seven contests and is riding a 17-game on-base streak.
"When he came up, he had to make some adjustments with his pitch selection and hone his pitch recognition. There's stuff that guys do here that you just don't see at Double-A," Chimelis said. "I remember [Alonso] told me that he never really saw righty-on-righty changeups before and you see that a lot here, and the pitchers will expose your weaknesses. But we've been doing special drills with a short bat and you can see he's getting better every day."
Gameday box score
Against the I-Cubs, the 2016 second-round pick laced a first-inning RBI double to left field on an inside fastball from right-hander Jen-Ho Tseng (2-12) that scored Ty Kelly from second and put Vegas on the board. An inning later, Alonso stepped to the dish with two on and two out. The first offering from Tseng was in the same location as the last one, but MLB.com's No. 63 overall prospect deposited it beyond the wall in left to give the 51s a 5-0 advantage.
"I honestly thought he missed that pitch," Chimelis said. "I mean, he didn't get all of it, but he just has some serious power. Every time he hits the ball, you think it has a chance. And he got that one up in the air and it just kept going and went out."
Alonso got hold of an outside 1-1 offering from lefty Kyle Ryan and served it into right for a base hit in the fourth. Two innings later, Anthony Bass finally retired Alonso when he got under a heater and lifted it to center for a flyout. The University of Florida product faced southpaw Rob Zastryzny in his last at-bat.
"He's a feel guy and if he gets in a good BP early, he'll take that confidence into the game with him and I think that's what happened today," Chimelis said. "He has a really good swing, it's really just about his approach now and if he goes to the plate with a good plan he can hit the ball hard to all parts of the field."
The last time Alonso collected four hits in a game was June 23, 2017 when he went 4-for-5 with three doubles, a dinger and five RBIs for Class A Advanced St. Lucie in a 19-7 victory over Charlotte. The other time he accomplished the feat was on Aug. 8, 2016, when he finished 4-for-5, again falling a triple shy of the cycle, with three RBIs for Class A Short Season Brooklyn in a 14-3 rout of Tri-City.
Right-hander Drew Gagnon (4-4) notched his third straight win after yielding two runs on six hits and a walk with nine punchouts over six frames. Cody Asche tripled in a run for Las Vegas in the third and clubbed his 10th homer in the ninth.
Chris Coghlan was 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and two runs scored for Iowa.
The I-Cubs trailed in the ninth, 9-3, and left the bases loaded when Brad Markey grounded into a fielder's choice.