ST. LOUIS - Mets manager Terry Collins came one hit away from facing a tidal wave of criticism.
Ultimately, his decision to pull Bartolo Colon after eight brilliant innings worked out for the Mets, who held off a rally to beat the Cardinals, 3-2. But it got close, with journeyman lefty Dana Eveland getting Matt Adams to ground out, leaving the tying run on first base.
With temperatures on the field reaching triple-digits, Collins balked at sending Colon out for the ninth, even though he had thrown just 86 pitches. "Ninety pitches in this heat is like throwing 120," Collins said.
Colon has topped the 100-pitch mark eight times this season, with a high of 121. Yet Collins summoned closer Jenrry Mejia in the ninth.
The decision immediately backfired. Matt Carpenter laced a leadoff double before Jon Jay was hit on the leg by a pitch. Mejia got Matt Holliday to hit into a crucial double play but gave up an infield single to Allen Craig that cut the lead to one.
Collins then wanted a lefty to face Adams. "He's won game after game with a home run or a big hit and they've all been off righthanded pitching, so it would have to be off a lefty," Collins said.
Eveland, who pitched last season in Korea, got a grounder to become the seventh Mets pitcher to record a save.
Dillon Gee (strained lat muscle) will join the Mets in Miami Thursday. He's scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday . . . Jeremy Hefner will throw off the slope of the mound on Sunday; Matt Harvey's throw date hasn't been announced. Both are recovering from Tommy John surgery . . . After the game, Kirk Nieuwenhuis was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas and Matt den Dekker was optioned.