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Pete Alonso’s power boosts the Mets in win over Phillies

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Pete Alonso’s power boosts the Mets in win over Phillies

The Mets are living and dying with Pete Alonso’s power.

They have won 10 of the 11 games that Alonso has homered in this season, and Friday night’s 8-6 win over the Phillies fell into the majority.

Alonso cranked his 12th homer of the year in the third inning off Bailey Falter, a two-run 400-foot shot to left field that gave the Mets a nice, breathable five-run advantage over their division rivals. The Mets kept adding on, and they needed every insurance run, but it was the team polar bear that brought the party back to Citi Field to kick off the Amazin’s six-game homestand.

The Mets (30-17) had been flirting with their 30th win of the season since Tuesday, during their wild back-and-forth, three hour and 50 minute game against the Giants that went the other way. Had they won that night, the Mets would’ve become the second team in MLB to eclipse that mark, following only the Yankees who won their 30th game earlier on Tuesday. The Mets were the first team to reach 20 wins earlier this month.

Alonso’s home run in the third was also his 400th career hit, which means 29.5% of the first baseman’s hits since his 2019 rookie season have been dingers. Alonso also now leads MLB with 44 RBI.

Meanwhile, the Mets lived to deal with their growing bullpen problem another day.

Carlos Carraso pitched better than his final line suggested, because Mets manager Buck Showalter yanked him with runners on first and second in the sixth inning and reliever Chasen Shreve provided none of it when he promptly surrendered a three-run home run to Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs.

All five runs that were charged to Carrasco came in the sixth inning, but none of the four singles he allowed were hit harder than 84 mph off the bat. So four softly-hit base hits, including two that never left the infield, and a walk to Odubel Herrera resulted in five earned runs on six hits across 5.2 innings and 85 pitches. Carrasco, whose ERA jumped to 3.98 following his ninth start of the year, had retired 15 of his first 18 batters, including seven strikeouts, before his outing went sideways in the sixth.

Shreve, on the other hand, has struggled in five of his last six relief appearances. The lefty specialist had been terrific for the Mets to begin the season, carrying a 0.74 ERA into his 11th relief appearance just a couple of weeks ago. But he has since allowed at least one earned run in each of his last half-dozen outings. The Mets have just one other left-handed bullpen arm in Joely Rodriguez, and both he and Shreve have been used plenty by Showalter through the team’s first 47 games.

Without Trevor May, who is on the injured list with a triceps stress reaction for at least the next couple of weeks, the Mets bullpen has been forced to pick up the slack with varying degrees of success. Going into the 2022 season, the Amazin’s relief corps was their weakest area on paper, and more than a quarter into the year, it remains that way.

But, for now, Mets relievers have recorded a 3.65 ERA overall, which ranks in the middle of the league at 15th. We’ve seen bullpen arms be impressive, while also costing some games. The league-average effort means GM Billy Eppler should be scouring the market yesterday for any acquisitions, but it’s also an area the Mets can potentially afford to wait to improve, in a bigger way, at the trade deadline.

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Minnesota United gives away late lead in Miami

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Minnesota United gives away late lead in Miami

For so much of the second half, Minnesota looked comfortable and ready to take a much-needed victory.

Shockingly, Inter Miami, the second-worst goal-scoring team in MLS notched two goals in the final three minutes to flip the script and take a 2-1 victory in the first MLS meeting between the two teams.

“[We] put ourselves in a great spot,” manager Adrian Heath said. “Put ourselves in a really good position. We’re not doing enough, it doesn’t look as though it’s enough to concede goals and lose games.”

Inter Miami forward Indiana Vassilev only made it into the game as a late-game bench substitution, but he made the most of his opportunity scoring in the 87th and 90th minute to give his team a victory, surpassing Minnesota’s one-goal lead it held since the 65th minute.

The Loons’ defense had kept Minnesota in the game for each chance Inter Miami had for the first 86 minutes, but the team couldn’t get the stops near the end to come up with the victory.

“At those times of the game, you need to do whatever you can to just beat your man,” Loons defender Michael Boxall said.

Minnesota’s victory looked nearly locked up as the Loons held the 1-0 difference into the final five minutes of the game. That goal followed a resilient start to the second half after many chances weren’t finished.

The Minnesota goal scorer was Luis Amarilla, who put the ball past the Inter Miami goalkeeper in tight in the 65th minute. It was his first goal in MLS play since March 19.

Amarilla was in such a position to score the goal so close to the keeper because of an acrobatic one-touch centering pass from Franco Fragapane. The play all began from Emmanuel Reynoso getting the ball on the right side of the attacking zone. He cut towards the middle and sent a lofting kick that found the airborne Fragapane for his assist.

While Minnesota finally found the back of the net in the back half of the game, there was no shortage of missed opportunities earlier in the contest.

“We’re not good enough at one end, and we’re not good enough at the other, and that’s not a good recipe,” Heath said. “We’ve got to get more and more determination to get on the things in the box and we’ve certainly got to defend the goal better.”

By the end of the game, Inter Miami had eight shots on target, while Minnesota had just one, the Amarilla goal.

The loss marks the first since Minnesota announced Heath’s two-year contract extension through 2024 on Thursday. The defeat also adds to a 1-6-1 stretch over the Loons’ last eight games, including Saturday night.

Heath said on Wednesday that the goal was to come away with four points in this road trip at Inter Miami on Saturday and on Wednesday at L.A. Galaxy. With the loss to Inter Miami, that goal is no longer possible.

The Loons must keep looking forward to get back on track and into playoff contention. After the loss on Saturday, Minnesota sits 11th in the Western Conference Standings, five points outside of the seventh spot, the cutoff for the playoffs.

“The good thing is that it’s a quick turnaround,” Boxall said. “Not quite looking ahead to L.A. just yet, we still need to process this game and figure out what we need to address, because that should be three points we’re taking home tonight.”

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Twins record second shutout in three days in win over Rockies

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Twins record second shutout in three days in win over Rockies

Puffy white clouds filled the blue skies above Target Field and sunlight bounced off buildings that make up the Minneapolis skyline. It was the kind of summer night at the ballpark that Minnesotans dream about throughout the long winter months.

It was the perfect night at Target Field and the hometown team, well, they were nearly perfect, too. Twins pitchers gave up just one hit (and five walks), and the team captured a first-inning lead on its way to a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night at Target Field.

A day after getting shut out for the 10th time this season, tying the league lead, Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton made sure early on that the Twins wouldn’t suffer the same fate. Arraez snapped an 0-for-11 stretch to begin the game and Buxton, back in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday, followed that up with his first triple since 2019.

After missing time this week after his knee flared up, Buxton turned on the burners, with a sprint speed of 29.3 feet/second (30 ft/sec is elite) on the triple, losing his helmet along the way. When he reached the base, he pounded his chest a couple times, smacked his hands together and let out a roar.

While the Twins left Buxton on third, they added on throughout the game, tacking on a run in the second on Arraez’s second hit of the game, two more in the fifth and two more in the seventh.

Alex Kirilloff drove in three of those runs, one on a sacrifice fly and the other on a double off the right field wall, bringing home Max Kepler — who walked three times in the game — and Kyle Garlick. The double was his fourth in eight games since being recalled from Triple-A.

All that offense came in support of Chris Archer, who worked five innings and allowed just one hit — a single to former Twin C.J. Cron in the second inning — and a walk in his outing.  Archer pitched out of that second-inning jam, retiring the next three batters in a row, the first of 12 straight that he sent down to conclude his start.

His start was followed by a scoreless inning each from Jharel Cotton and Griffin Jax and two from Tyler Thornburg. Twins pitchers have now thrown two shutouts in their past three games, and in Friday’s loss, they gave up just one run.

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A Pride timeline: Gay rights in Minnesota from 1858-2022

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A Pride timeline: Gay rights in Minnesota from 1858-2022

1858: Joseph Israel Lobdell, born Lucy Lobdell, is arrested for “impersonating a man.” A judge in the rural camp community of Forest City, Minn., sided with Lobdell, ruling that he did not act unlawfully.

1877: Minneapolis rules crossdressing as illegal, putting gender-nonconforming Minnesotans at risk for imprisonment.

1969: The Stonewall riots begin in New York City after police raids occur in the gay-friendly bars and community spaces of Lower Manhattan. These riots serve as a public turning point in American LGBTQ+ history.

May 18, 1969: University of Minnesota alumni found Fight Repression of Erotic Expression, or FREE, the first LGBTQ+ rights organization in the state. Founders Jack Baker and Michael McConnell become the first same-sex couple in the nation to apply for a marriage license, an application that is rejected by Hennepin County. Their legal case is dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court in one sentence.

1972: The first Twin Cities Pride celebration is held in Minneapolis’ Loring Park.

Dec. 9, 1972: Minnesota state Sen. Allan Henry Spear indicates he is gay in an interview with the Minneapolis Star, making him the first openly gay state legislator in the United States.

June 1982: Bruce Brockway becomes the first documented recipient of an HIV diagnosis in Minnesota. After his diagnosis, he founded the Minnesota AIDS Project to provide resources to HIV-positive Minnesotans.

1993: Gender- and sexuality-based discrimination is outlawed in Minnesota, making it the first state in the nation to adopt the policy.

1997: Sicaŋgu Lakota man Nicholas Metcalf and his partner, Korean-American Edd Lee, found the Minnesota Men of Color, an organization that focuses on the well-being of men, women and gender-nonconforming people of color.

2012: Amendment 1, which limits marriage rights to only heterosexual couples, is rejected by the majority of Minnesota voters. Same-sex marriage is legalized in the state.

June 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court releases a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges finding that same-sex marriage cannot be banned in any state and must be recognized nationally. Gay marriage is legalized.

June 25-26, 2022: After two years of pandemic-related cancellations, the Twin Cities Pride parade and festival returns to Minneapolis.

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