- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Just shy of a year. That’s how long Jeurys Familia’s saves streak lasted - until Yadier Molina ended it with one perfectly timed swing.

Molina and pinch-hitter Kolten Wong each stroked an RBI double in the ninth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals snapped Familia’s string of 52 straight saves in rallying to beat the New York Mets 5-4 on Wednesday night.

“A huge boost,” Wong said. “We needed this.”

Yoenis Cespedes hit a go-ahead homer off Adam Wainwright to cap a three-run comeback in the seventh that gave the Mets a 4-3 lead. But then Familia, who hadn’t blown a regular-season save opportunity since July 30 last year, finally faltered.

Jedd Gyorko drew a four-pitch walk with one out in the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Randal Grichuk. Molina hit the next pitch to deep center field, and Grichuk scored standing up to tie it.

Molina was thrown out at third by Familia (2-2) on pinch-hitter Jeremy Hazelbaker’s comebacker, but Hazelbaker stole second and scored when Wong lined a double just inside the left-field line.

“That was probably one of the top, top things I’ve experienced in a while,” said Wong, who lost his everyday job at second base this season and got demoted to the minors last month. “To see some kind of light at the end of the tunnel was definitely something I needed and something that I’ve been wanting for long, long time.”

Familia’s franchise-record saves streak was the third-longest in major league history behind Tom Gordon (54) and Eric Gagne (84).

“They made good contact on my sinker, and I walked a guy and Molina came and jumped on the first pitch and that’s it,” said Familia, charged with three blown saves in last year’s World Series loss to Kansas City.

Jonathan Broxton (3-2) tossed a scoreless eighth and Seung Hwan Oh got three quick outs for his sixth save.

Including a split of Tuesday’s doubleheader, St. Louis took two of three from the Mets in a matchup of NL wild-card contenders.

Logan Verrett pitched seven efficient innings and slumping Neil Walker went 3 for 3 with a base on balls for the third-place Mets, who dropped 5 1/2 games behind NL East-leading Washington.

“This is a really tough one to take,” manager Terry Collins said.

Matt Holliday hit a two-run double off Verrett with two outs in the third, and Matt Adams followed with an RBI double that made it 3-1.

Wainwright, who entered 3-0 in July with a major league-low 0.93 ERA, nursed that lead until the seventh - repeatedly pitching out of trouble. He nearly did so again after striking out Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera with runners at the corners.

But then Travis d’Arnaud scored on a wild pitch and Cespedes, who fouled off three full-count offerings, socked a two-run homer off the facing of the second deck in left-center.

It came on the 117th and final pitch from the 34-year-old Wainwright, who had not allowed a home run in just more than 66 innings since Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman connected on May 28. That was the longest streak in the majors this season.

“It was almost heartbreaking. For a moment it was. I was at my lowest of lows this season,” Wainwright said. “It was almost really bad, but the team saved me tonight.”


Because of Tuesday’s doubleheader, St. Louis needs a fill-in starter Saturday night in Miami. But manager Mike Matheny would not say whether the team was leaning toward promoting RHP Alex Reyes to make his major league debut. The 21-year-old Reyes, one of baseball’s premier prospects, was removed from his Triple-A outing after three innings Tuesday - perhaps to keep him available for Saturday. Left-handed reliever Tyler Lyons, who made 20 major league starts from 2013-15, also could be a candidate. “We’re not ruling out anything at this point,” Matheny said.


Cardinals hitters were kept in the ballpark after the club homered in 17 consecutive games - its longest streak since a team-record run of 19 in 2006.


Cardinals: 1B-OF Brandon Moss (sprained left ankle) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Double-A Springfield, with All-Star INF Matt Carpenter (strained right oblique) not far behind. But neither has a defined timetable to return, Matheny said.

Mets: 3B Jose Reyes received an injection and treatment for the ribcage strain on his left side. He is likely to be sidelined until at least Friday, Collins said, and Wilmer Flores will continue to fill in.


Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.37 ERA) starts Thursday night in Miami against RHP Jose Fernandez (12-4, 2.54), who is 26-1 with a 1.47 ERA at Marlins Park.

Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.73 ERA) looks to rebound from his worst start of the season Thursday afternoon against Colorado LHP Tyler Anderson (3-3, 3.56) in the opener of a four-game series.

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