Mets' Alonso sets NL rookie mark with 40th HR

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso hit his 40th home run of the season Sunday to set the National League rookie record for home runs in a season.

Alonso homered to left field in the ninth inning. The 418-foot blast off the Kansas City Royals' Jacob Barnes broke a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger for most home runs by a NL rookie in a season.

Bellinger hit 39 home runs in 2017.

"It's crazy," Alonso said after the Mets' 11-5 victory when asked about setting the record. "I just gotta go back to the days of spring training when I didn't know if I was gonna make the team out of camp or not. I'm just extremely thankful for this opportunity, and this has been such an incredible year. I just wanna keep building and help this team win."

Alonso quickly fell behind 0-2 in the count, but when Barnes threw a high fastball, he didn't miss.

"I was just trying to hit the ball hard like I have been,'' said Alonso, who is the first Mets player to hit 40 home runs in a season since Carlos Beltran hit 41 in 2006. "Take good, quality swings at good pitches and, thankfully, he gave me a fastball up in the zone, which I like to swing at.''

The result was a no-doubt shot over the bullpen in left field that snapped the tie with Bellinger, who hit the 39-home run mark on the way to winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2017.

"It was a pretty grand one,'' New York manager Mickey Callaway said. "It went a long way, it seemed like.''

Bellinger took to Twitter after Sunday's action to congratulate Alonso on breaking his record.

Next up for the 24-year-old Alonso is the Mets' season record of 41 home runs set by Todd Hundley in 1996 and equaled by Beltran a decade later.

"That's even more mind-boggling,'' Alonso said. "I'm just really grateful. Grateful and thankful and happy that I've had this opportunity.''

With the home run, Alonso improved to 3-for-4 in the Mets' victory over the Royals, with three runs and two RBIs.

The victory pulled the Mets (64-60) into a three-way tie in the NL wild-card chase, 1½ games behind the Chicago Cubs, who hold the second wild-card spot.

The New York Yankees' Aaron Judge holds the major league record for home runs in a season by a rookie, with 52 in 2017.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.