ST. LOUIS -- With the heat index on its way to 102 degrees inside sold-out Busch Stadium Wednesday, the odds seemed pretty good that 283-pound New York Mets starter Bartolo Colon might be a puddle by the late innings.
Instead, Colon thrived under brutal conditions -- not only on the mound, but at the plate.
His leadoff double in the sixth sparked the go-ahead rally and his precision pitching kept St. Louis shackled as New York avoided a sweep with a 3-2 victory.
Throwing 64 of his 86 pitches for strikes, Colon (7-5) gave up just four hits, including third baseman Matt Carpenter's leadoff homer in the first. He walked none and fanned just one, but induced 13 groundouts and retired 14 of his last 15 hitters.
Colon appeared to have enough in the tank to at least start the ninth, but manager Terry Collins pulled him for pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu with two outs.
"I told him when I took him out, 90 pitches is like 120 in this heat," Collins said.
Erring on the side of caution nearly cost the Mets (32-40) their first road win since June 2. Closer Jenrry Mejia gave up a two-out infield single in the ninth by right fielder Allen Craig that scored Carpenter.
With hot-hitting first baseman Matt Adams up, Collins hooked Mejia for lefthander Dana Eveland as he played the percentages. Eveland validated the move, inducing a game-ending groundout from Adams for his first save since Sept. 5, 2005, when he pitched for Milwaukee against Cincinnati.
"I saw where he was winning game after game with a big hit off right-handed pitching," Collins said of Adams, who homered in all three games of a weekend sweep against Washington. "So he was going to have to get a hit off a lefthander."
The Cardinals (39-33) saw their season-high five-game winning streak end, largely because starter Lance Lynn (7-5) came undone in the sixth.
After racing through five scoreless innings on only 62 pitches, Lynn got in trouble with a meaty 1-0 fastball to Colon, who stunningly pulled it down the left field line for a standup double.
It was Colon's first hit in 27 at-bats this year and his first hit since June 10, 2005, when he pitched for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It was also the first extra-base hit in 438 career at-bats.
"If he had thrown a breaking ball, I would have missed it. But I was sitting on the fastball," Colon joked through interpreter and New York bullpen coach Ricky Bones.
"I guess he was due," Lynn said of Colon's double.
Energized, the Mets quickly tied it when left fielder Eric Young, Jr. lined an RBI double to right-center as Colon scored his first run since Aug. 9, 2002, when he pitched for Montreal. Two batters later, third baseman David Wright blooped a single down the right field line to score Young, Jr. for a 2-1 lead.
An inning later, Young, Jr. added the eventual winning run with a two-out, run-scoring double to left that plated shortstop Wilmer Flores. He singled and advanced to second on Colon's second sacrifice bunt of the day.
Lynn gave up five hits and two runs over six innings, issuing four walks and whiffing five. It was the 23rd time in 71 games that St. Louis had scored two runs or less.
For that, the Cardinals can blame Colon, who showed matchless control on a broiling day where even Hall of Famer Ernie Banks might not have wanted to endure two games.
"Playing behind him today was great," Young said of Colon. "He made the game fun."
NOTES: Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright (elbow) threw a bullpen session before Wednesday's game and remains on track to take his turn in the rotation Saturday. Wainwright skipped his start Monday night for rest. ... The Mets took an eight-game road losing streak into Wednesday's game, their longest since July 22-August 3 of 1995. ... Cardinals LHP Kevin Siegrist (forearm) canceled his scheduled bullpen session after having trouble getting loose. Siegrist, who went on the disabled list May 24, will try again Friday.