Rapid Reaction: Mets 3, Cardinals 1 (18)

ST. LOUIS -- Put it in the books!

Jeurys Familia suffered only his third blown save in 30 chances, but the New York Mets ultimately prevailed 3-1 in 18 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday at Busch Stadium.

With the bases loaded and none out, Ruben Tejada delivered a tiebreaking sacrifice fly against Carlos Martinez in what became a two-run frame.

Familia inherited a 1-0 lead in 13th, but served up a leadoff homer to Kolten Wong.

The Mets (48-44) avoided getting swept in the second-half-opening series. They are 1-2 to begin a critical 10-game stretch against the National League’s division leaders. Next up: three games with the Washington Nationals in D.C., followed by four games at Citi Field against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The game was reminiscent of an April 17, 2010 game between the teams at Busch Stadium, which was scoreless through 18 innings. The Mets and Cardinals traded runs in the following frame. Jose Reyes then plated Angel Pagan with a sacrifice fly in the top of the 20th and Mike Pelfrey converted his only career save in the bottom half.

The Mets and Miami Marlins also played a 20-inning game on June 8, 2013.

The longest game in the majors this season remains a 19-inning affair between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox on April 10.

In the top of the 13th, Curtis Granderson produced a leadoff double and scored on Kevin Plawecki's RBI single against Carlos Villanueva. The Mets had been 0-for-15 on Sunday with runners in scoring position before Plawecki’s run-scoring hit.

In total, the Amazin's left 25 runners on base in the series finale -- matching the franchise record, set in a 25-inning game against the Cardinals on Sept. 11, 1974 at Shea Stadium.

The Mets finished Sunday's game 1-for-26 with runners in scoring position. They are 3-for-62 with runners in scoring position in their past eight games.

Familia’s last blown save came on June 15 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Plawecki twice had failed to come through in critical spots before the 13th-inning RBI single.

The Mets loaded the bases in the sixth, on a walk to Lucas Duda, single by Wilmer Flores and walk to John Mayberry Jr., all with two outs. But Seth Maness replaced starter Tim Cooney and struck out Plawecki to preserve a scoreless tie.

Plawecki also left two in scoring position in the eighth when Sam Tuivailala retired him on a groundout to third base.

It's a hit: Sean Gilmartin tossed three scoreless relief innings. In his first major league at-bat, Gilmartin also produced a leadoff single in the 16th against Martinez.

Gilmartin wasn't the only pitcher to bat in extra innings. The Cardinals intentionally walked Daniel Murphy, pushing a runner into scoring position, to bring up Jacob deGrom as a pinch hitter for Gilmartin with two outs in the 17th. Martinez walked DeGrom. That brought up Duda with the bases loaded. Duda struck out.

Niesely done: Jonathon Niese allowed no runs on five hits, one walk and a hit batter in 7 2/3 innings in a 100-pitch no-decision. He has a 2.01 ERA over his past seven starts -- albeit with only two wins during that span.

What’s next: The Mets head to D.C. for a showdown with the Nats. Matt Harvey (8-6, 3.07 ERA) opposes left-hander Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.99) in Monday’s 7:05 p.m. ET series opener.