Familia's 1st blown save sparks marathon tilt
NEW YORK -- It took closer Jeurys Familia nearly six full weeks to blow a save. Once he did, it sent the Mets spiraling into a drawn-out extra-innings battle with the Cardinals.
Familia blew his first save in the ninth inning in an eventual 2-1 win in 14 innings, after opening the year 13-for-13 to earn a share of the Major League saves lead. That was the fourth-longest saves streak to open a season in franchise history, 11 shy of the 24 consecutive conversions that Armando Benitez recorded in 2001.
Familia became New York's closer when the team placed Jenrry Mejia, who has since been suspended, on the disabled list after Opening Day.
The right-hander's first blown save unfolded in a 1-0 game, after Cardinals pinch-runner Pete Kozma went first to third on Yadier Molina's one-out single to Curtis Granderson. The next batter, Jason Heyward, took advantage by punching a sacrifice fly to Granderson in right, giving Mets starter Matt Harvey a no-decision despite eight shutout innings and nine strikeouts.
"I think I did the same as I've pitched every time I've gone out there this year," Familia said. "I tried to keep the ball down, make quality pitches. They made adjustments."
It may have been Familia's first blown save of the year, but it was the second recent ninth-inning heartbreak in which he played a central role. Last Wednesday in Chicago, the Mets brought Familia into a tie game against the Cubs with the bases loaded and none out. He struck out the first batter he faced, before walking Chris Coghlan to force in the winning run.
"As well as he's pitched," manager Terry Collins said, "he hasn't made very many [mistakes]."