The last time Jeurys Familia blew a regular-season save for the Mets, “Ant Man,” starring Paul Rudd, was the No. 1 movie in America, “Cheerleader” by OMI was the No. 1 song on the radio and Pokemon was nothing more than a card and video game.
Until Wednesday, when No. 27 couldn’t record regular season consecutive save No. 53 — snapping a streak lasting since August 1, 2015. The Cardinals scored two runs off Familia in the top of the ninth inning for a 5-4 win at Citi Field Wednesday night. Familia’s 52-game save streak was the third longest in major league baseball history, trailing only Tom Gordon (54 games) and Eric Gagne (84 games).
But Familia didn’t appear too troubled in front of his locker after the loss. He was proud of the streak he achieved and realizes some nights the other team will get the better of him.
“What I’ve done so far,” he said, “I never in my life thought I could do in the big leagues.”
Familia in the ninth inning has been a constant in a rocky first four months of the season for the Mets. Which is why when Yoenis Cespedes blasted a 3-2 curveball from Adam Wainwright off the facing of the second deck in left-centerfield in the seventh inning for a three-run home run to give the Mets a 4-3 lead, and Addison Reed followed with his 24th hold of the year in the eighth, it’s easy to see why Mets fans would have assumed the game would end to their liking.
But even Cespedes knew it wasn’t over yet.
“It’s baseball,” Cespedes said, “and until the 27th out, you don’t know any results. We have a lot of faith in Familia but unfortunately it didn’t work out.”
Familia retired the first batter of the ninth before walking Jedd Gyorko on four pitches. The Mets closer has made a habit of surrendering walks and hits before escaping jams, but pinch runner Randal Grichuk scored on the next pitch when Yadier Molina lined a 96-mph sinker to left-centerfield to tie the game at 4.
After a Jeremy Hazelbaker’s fielder’s choice to Familia resulted in Molina being thrown out at third base, Hazelbaker stole second before Kolten Wong doubled him in on a 97-mph that the lefthander lined into leftfield for the game-winning hit.
Manager Terry Collins said Familia likely won’t be available Thursday because of throwing too many pitches on consecutive days but he’ll be closing the next save opportunity after that.
Collins said Wednesday was a tough loss. “No question about it,” Collins said. “This is a really tough one to take. 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 that’s just been lights out give up two, yeah that’s a little tougher to take.”
But Familia will be ready the next time he’s called upon.
“I’ve been in that situation before last year,” Familia said about rebounding after a blown save. “I know tomorrow’s a new day and I can do better and get another opportunity and do my job.”