ST. LOUIS — Jaime Garcia carried a shutout into the eighth inning and Yadier Molina got his 1,000th career hit with an infield single that started a three-run second inning against rookie Matt Harvey in the St. Louis Cardinals' 5-1 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
Daniel Descalso and David Freese had two hits and an RBI apiece for the Cardinals, who are 42-26 at home for the second-best mark in the National League. St. Louis will go for a three-game sweep Wednesday with Adam Wainwright facing 17-game winner R.A. Dickey.
Descalso also stole third in the sixth, putting him in position to score on John Jay's groundout against Justin Hampson that made it 4-0.
Pinch-hitter Mike Baxter hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Lance Lynn in the eighth. Left fielder Adron Chambers, who ran for Matt Holliday in the seventh, caught Daniel Murphy's drive at the left-field wall to end the threat and then bounced into the fence in front of the visitors' bullpen.
Holliday left the game with lower back tightness after walking to start the seventh. The Cardinals said Holliday, among the league leaders with 92 RBIs, was day to day.
Garcia (4-6) gave up an unearned run in 7 1/3 innings for his first victory in five decisions since May 16 and first in four starts since coming off the disabled list. He was sidelined for 64 games by a shoulder strain.
In two home starts since then, he's allowed one run in 15 1/3 innings while going 0-2 on the road and giving up 10 runs in 11 1/3 innings. Garcia is 2-2 at home with a 2.63 ERA this year and 2-4 with a 5.80 ERA on the road.
Molina got a prolonged ovation after barely beating David Wright's throw on a slow roller up the third base line for his milestone hit. The Cardinals added three more singles by Freese, Skip Schumaker and Descalso to open the inning.
That was the only spot of trouble for Harvey, the Mets' 2010 first-round draft pick, whose five-inning stint matched the shortest of his eight career starts. Harvey's string of four consecutive quality starts was the Mets' best in a single season by a rookie since Jae Seo had six straight in 2003.
Harvey (3-4) has thrown 157 1-3 innings this season, including 110 for Triple-A Buffalo, and the Mets don't want to overload the 24-year-old right-hander. They have scored only 16 runs while Harvey was in the game.