Jaime Garcia bounced back strongly from a poor outing in his previous start by holding the Mets to one unearned run Tuesday over 7 1/3 innings.
The St. Louis lefty walked none while striking out five Mets en route to a 5-1 victory that helped the Cardinals stay ahead of the Dodgers in the wild card race while gaining a game on the Braves who lost to Colorado.
Jon Jay, Yadier Molina, David Freese and Daniel Descalso each collected a pair of hits to pace the St. Louis offense.
Molina's first safety of the game was the 1,000th of his career and it led off the second inning to start a Redbirds rally. He grounded to the right of shortstop and legged out a bounced throw. Freese singled then the runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch.
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So many times this year it seems that the Cardinals have squandered easy scoring opportunities. But this time Skip Schumaker singled to make the score 1-0 then Descalso singled to drive home a second run. Garcia bunted to move Descalso up then Jay was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Matt Carpenter ripped a ball to left center that nearly cleared the bases. But, while it was caught, it was good enough for a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-0.
The Birds scored one insurance run in the sixth and another in the seventh to go up by five runs and the lead seemed secure.
But in the eigth the Mets got a couple of singles to put two runners on with no outs. Garcia got a line out and then Lance Lynn relieved. He got an easy ground ball to Descalso. But the Cardinals shortstop booted what should have been an inning ending double play ball. The Mets got a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-1 and then Daniel Murphy hit a ball to the left field warning track that Adron Chambers was able to run down to prevent a big mess.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Garcia
Cardinals Play of the Game: Chambers' catch.
Lowlight: Chambers entered the game because starting left fielder Matt Holliday apparently injured his back walking to first base on a base on balls. When will the mindless injuries end.