Jeurys Familia's save streak snapped as Mets suffer disheartening loss

NEW YORK -- Jeurys Familia repeatedly has flirted with danger this season. Just last week, he loaded the bases with none out against the Chicago Cubs.

Yet each time, including that instance at Wrigley Field, Familia remarkably had wriggled free.

Familia finally got tripped up on the tightrope wire on Wednesday night, as the New York Mets lost a 5-4 rubber-game heartbreaker to the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field.

Arriving on the mound to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning, Familia issued a one-out walk to Jedd Gyorko.

Yadier Molina, nemesis from Game 7 of the National League Championship Series a full decade ago, then delivered a game-tying RBI double.

“I think I left it a little bit in the middle, and he made a good swing,” Familia said.

That snapped Familia’s streak of successful regular-season save conversions at 52 straight -- third longest in MLB history. So Eric Gagne’s record 84 straight save conversions from 2002 to 2004 with the Los Angeles Dodgers remains safe.

Familia ultimately suffered the loss too. Kolten Wong capped the two-run ninth with a tiebreaking RBI double.

“What I’ve done so far, I never in my life thought I was going to do that in the big leagues,” Familia said when asked about the meaning of the streak.

As a result of Wednesday's defeat, however, the Mets remain remarkably average since the All-Star break:

Six wins. Six losses. No two-game winning streak or losing streak during that stretch.

And that meant losing ground on Wednesday in trying to secure their second straight postseason appearance.

The Mets (53-47) slipped 5½ games behind the division-leading Washington Nationals and now trail the Dodgers (57-45), Miami Marlins (55-46) and Cardinals (54-47) in the wild-card race.

New York had been 48-0 when leading after eight innings.

It looked like win No. 49 was coming, thanks to heroics from Yoenis Cespedes in the seventh inning.

After Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera consecutively struck out and it seemed the Mets were about to leave a runner on third base for the third straight inning, Adam Wainwright uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch in the seventh that pulled the Mets within 3-2. Cespedes followed with a mammoth two-run homer that provided the lead.

Wainwright had not allowed a homer since May 28. He entered the seventh inning with the longest active streak of homerless innings in MLB at 66⅔.

“This is really a tough one to take,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “When you come back on Adam Wainwright and have a chance to win the game, that’s a pretty big night. And then to have your closer, who just has been lights out, give up two, that’s a little tougher to take.”

Yet the game ought to be remembered just as much for missed chances as Familia’s blown save.

The Mets had been 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position before Cespedes’ homer. They left a runner on third base in the fifth when Cabrera struck out and again in the sixth when Michael Conforto grounded out to first base.

“Even though Ces got a big hit, we still had a lot of opportunities to score some runs,” Collins said.

As Cespedes said through an interpreter, “It’s baseball, and until the 27th out, you don’t know any result. We have a lot of faith in Familia, but things unfortunately didn’t work out."

What’s next: Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.73 ERA) opposes left-hander Tyler Anderson (3-3, 3.56) as the Colorado Rockies open a four-game series at Citi Field on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. ET. DeGrom had a dominant stretch halted when he allowed five runs on 10 hits and a walk in 3⅔ innings on Saturday at Miami.