CHICAGO (AP) — Cubs top pitching prospect Adbert Alzolay tossed four innings of dazzling relief in his major league debut and the offense broke through with a six-run third as Chicago beat the New York Mets 7-4 on Thursday night.
Javier Báez homered and tripled, and Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run double as the NL Central leaders improved to 26-12 at Wrigley Field.
Rookie slugger Pete Alonso hit his 25th homer and Todd Frazier connected for the 200th of his career for the Mets, who dropped to 15-26 on the road. Before the game, they fired pitching coach Dave Eiland and bullpen coach Chuck Hernández — but it made little difference on this night.
Alonso tied Dodgers star Cody Bellinger (2017) for most homers by an NL rookie before the All-Star break. Alonso also is one shy of the Mets’ rookie mark set by Darryl Strawberry in 1983.
Alzolay (1-0) replaced starter Tyler Chatwood to begin the fifth. The right-hander struck out five and didn’t allow a hit until Frazier’s leadoff homer in the ninth. Alzolay was replaced after walking the next batter, Wilson Ramos.
The 24-year-old was recalled before the game from Triple-A Iowa, where he went 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA in six starts this season. He had 46 strikeouts in 32 innings with a WHIP of 0.94.
Steve Cishek got three outs for his seventh save.
New York spot starter Walker Lockett (0-1) retired his first six batters and had a 3-0 lead when he took the mound in the third following Alonso’s two-run shot. But things quickly fell apart for the 25-year-old right-hander, who was pitching in place of injured Noah Syndergaard.
Carlos González led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Chatwood. Daniel Descalso followed with an RBI single. Kyle Schwarber walked and Kris Bryant hit a bloop to right that fell in for a run-scoring single. With runners on the corners, Rizzo doubled down the right field line to score both and give Chicago a 4-2 lead.
The Cubs weren’t done. Báez tripled to center to score Rizzo. After Lockett was yanked, Báez scored on a wild pitch by Brooks Pounders to make it 6-3.
Báez hit his 18th homer in the seventh.
REGAN REPLACES EILAND
The Mets named Phil Regan interim pitching coach, Ricky Bones interim bullpen coach and Jeremy Accardo interim pitching strategist.
The 82-year-old Regan has been the club’s minor league assistant pitching coordinator since 2016 after spending 2009-15 as the pitching coach for Class A St. Lucie. The former major league pitcher managed the Baltimore Orioles during the 1995 season.
Bones began this year as the pitching coach for St. Lucie. He was the Mets’ bullpen coach from 2012-18.
Accardo was in his first full season as the Mets’ minor league pitching coordinator.
“When we assessed the first 2½ months of the season, in particular over the course of the last several weeks, we felt the bullpen performance had a lot of room to improve,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said.
“I think that is the root of this move. Our belief is we have the talent to be better than we’ve performed.”
Mets: To make room for Lockett, left-hander Daniel Zamora was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.
Cubs: To make room for Alzolay, lefty Tim Collins was designated for assignment.
Mets lefty Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.74 ERA) faces righty Yu Darvish (2-3, 4.65) in the second of the four-game series Friday afternoon. Vargas had to leave his last start Sunday against the Cardinals after four innings with cramping in his left calf. Darvish is coming off his best outing of the season — one run and two hits in seven innings against the Dodgers on Saturday.