The Bottom Line

— The St. Louis Cardinals (84-71) defeated the Houston Astros (50-104) on Tuesday night by a score of 4-0. With the Milwaukee Brewers losing to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, the Cardinals are now 4.5 games ahead for the second slot in the National League wild card race with 7 games left in the regular season.

Jaime Garcia threw seven shutout innings while giving up 6 hits and striking out 5. His ERA is at 3.99 for the year.

Yadier Molina hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning to give the Cardinals a quick 1-0 lead. Jon Jay then hit an RBI-single in the second inning to drive in Garcia and give the Cards a 2-0 lead.

Pete Kozma hit an RBI-double in the eighth inning, followed by a fielders choice from Jon Jay to extend the Cardinals lead to 4-0.

Keep ’em comin…the Cardinals really look great right now. It’s such a pleasure to see clean and crisp baseball, even if it’s against a team that has 50 wins. The Redbirds have now won 9 of their last 10 games and are in prime position to close out this second slot for the wild card. Of course, after tomorrow, they finish the season against the Nationals and Reds, two opponents who are not easy to beat, even when they’re not playing for anything. By contrast, the Brewers have the luxury of playing the Astros and the Padres, while the Dodgers are playing the Rockies and Giants. But we’ll focus on that another time…

What was most impressive about Garcia tonight was that he worked around a leadoff runner in the fifth, sixth, and seventh inning. He didn’t let them distract him and kept a calm composure on the mound. He earned his sixth victory on the season and is showing no signs of elbow problems which kept him on the disabled list for an extended period of time this season.

Not too sure what’s gotten into Pete Kozma but he sure looks comfortable up there at the plate. And with Rafael Furcal likely not returning for the postseason, I’m sure hoping he could be a valuable part of this team for the near future.

What’s Next: The Cardinals go for the sweep on Wednesday evening against the Houston Astros as Chris Carpenter will make his second start of the season. He will oppose Bud Norris. First pitch is at 7:05 and can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest. As always, all pre and post game information can be found on CardsBlog. Go Cards.