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Alonso and McNeil provide power, Bickford saves the Mets as they hand the Cubs a costly 4-3 loss

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Pete Alonso launched yet another homer against the Chicago Cubs, and Jeff McNeil hit a tiebreaking shot that sent the New York Mets to a 4-3 victory Wednesday night.

With the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Phil Bickford struck out No. 3 batter Ian Happ to save it for New York.

It was a costly defeat for Chicago, locked in a crowded National League playoff race. The Cubs lost for just the sixth time in 22 games and fell 2 1/2 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.

Christopher Morel and Seiya Suzuki homered for the Chicago, bunched with several teams fighting tooth-and-nail for the league’s final wild card.

Jonathan Araúz added an RBI single and the Mets got strong work from their shaky bullpen to take two of three games from the Cubs, who won their previous six series.

Bickford entered with two on in the ninth and earned his second major league save -- first for the Mets since being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash at last week's trade deadline. After a sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Nick Madrigal advanced two runners, Bickford threw a called third strike past Morel.

A walk to Nico Hoerner loaded the bases before Bickford fanned Happ.

Grant Hartwig (4-1) worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Mets starter David Peterson.

Morel hit Peterson's first pitch to left field for his third career leadoff homer and first this season. Suzuki, who finished a double shy of the cycle, tripled in the second and scored on a passed ball.

Alonso tied it in the fourth with a two-run homer off starter Kyle Hendricks. Alonso had four home runs and 10 RBIs in the series, giving him 15 homers and 34 RBIs in 27 career games against the Cubs.

McNeil greeted Hayden Wesneski (2-4) with a leadoff homer in the sixth that put the Mets ahead. Abraham Almonte doubled and scored on Araúz's single to make it 4-2.

Suzuki homered leading off the ninth against Adam Ottavino.


Cubs: RHP Marcus Stroman (right hip inflammation) felt great after his bullpen Tuesday, manager David Ross said. Stroman will likely throw a heavier bullpen Friday, according to pitching coach Tommy Hottovy. The team hopes Stroman can return from the injured list when eligible Aug. 16. … Rookie C Miguel Amaya was shaken up after getting hit on the left hand by a 95 mph sinker from Trevor Gott in the seventh. Amaya was checked by a trainer and remained in the game, then was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the ninth.


Cubs: After an off day, Javier Assad pitches Friday night at Toronto in the opener of a three-game series. The rookie right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.35 ERA in two starts and 18 relief appearances this season. Assad threw five scoreless innings in a start at Toronto last August.

Mets: RHP Tylor Megill (6-5, 5.45 ERA) goes Friday night at Citi Field in the opener of a four-game series against the major league-leading Braves. It will be Megill's second start since returning from Triple-A Syracuse, where he went 0-3 with an 8.67 ERA in six starts. He gave up five runs and nine hits over 4 2/3 innings Saturday in a loss at Baltimore. RHP Charlie Morton (10-10, 3.86) pitches for Atlanta.

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