Cardinals 5, Mets 1: Jaime Garcia collected his first win since mid-May after tossing 7 1/3 brilliant innings and Yadier Molina recorded his 1,000th career hit as St. Louis defeated New York for the second straight game.
Skip Schumaker, David Freese and Daniel Descalso had RBI singles for the Cardinals, who moved to within two games of Atlanta for the top wild-card spot after the Braves dropped a 6-0 decision to Colorado. St. Louis also secured a 1 1/2-game lead for the second wild-card spot over Los Angeles, which dropped a 6-3 extra-inning decision against San Diego later Tuesday.
All was not rosy for St. Louis, which saw Matt Holliday exit the contest with tightness in his lower back after working a leadoff walk in the seventh inning.
Making his fourth start since returning from a shoulder injury, Garcia (4-6) allowed one run on nine hits and struck out five. The victory was his first dating back to May 16.
St. Louis staked Garcia to an early lead in the second inning after recording four straight singles - with the latter two resulting in runs, courtesy of Schumaker and Descalso. Matt Carpenter added a sacrifice fly to cap the three-run frame.
Rookie Matt Harvey (3-4) permitted three runs and six hits in five innings to take the loss. The Mets fell to 5-3 on their road trip heading into Wednesday's series finale.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Molina's milestone hit came on an infield single in the second inning. He received a standing ovation from the St. Louis faithful. ... Garcia improved to 2-0 in four career starts versus New York. His three sacrifice bunts were the most by a Cardinals player since Mike Morgan against Cincinnati on July 15, 1996. ... Mets RHP Jeurys Familia made his major-league debut in the eighth inning and struck out Lance Berkman. He then induced a double-play ball to exit the frame. ... Former Met Carlos Beltran sat out with a sore knee for St. Louis. ... Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis tossed out the ceremonial first pitch.