ST. LOUIS (AP) — Brandon Moss broke out of a lengthy slump with a tiebreaking home run and Aledmys Diaz connected in his return to the starting lineup, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the Chicago Cubs, 4-2, on Tuesday night.
The Cardinals ensured that the runaway Cubs won’t clinch the NL Central at Busch Stadium. Chicago’s magic number is three, and the series in St. Louis wraps up Wednesday.
St. Louis remained a half-game behind the New York Mets for the second wild-card spot.
Moss entered the game mired in a 1-for-41 skid. He hit a two-run homer in the sixth off Jason Hammel (14-9).
Dexter Fowler led off the game with a home run against Jaime Garcia.
Alex Reyes (2-1) won with 4 1-3 innings of scoreless relief. Kevin Siegrist got his second save.
Moss singled in the second and scored on Diaz’s 15th homer of the season. Diaz started for the first time since July 31, when the All-Star shortstop broke his thumb.
Garcia, who lasted just 1 2-3 innings, the shortest outing in his 146-start career. Garcia gave up two runs on three hits, including Fowler’s seventh leadoff homer of the season.
Hammel allowed four runs on six hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out nine and walked two.
Cardinals: INF Matt Carpenter was in the starting lineup after leaving Monday’s game with back tightness. … RHP Trevor Rosenthal threw batting practice. He has missed 46 games with shoulder inflammation. … RHP Michael Wacha is expected to be activated off the disabled list tomorrow and could be headed to the bullpen. He has been out since Aug. 9 with shoulder inflammation.
Cubs LHP Jon Lester (16-4, 2.51) takes on RHP Carlos Martinez (14-7, 3.05) in the final game of the three-game set. Lester has allowed one run or less in each of his last five starts. He is 6-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his previous eight starts. Martinez is 6-3 in 11 day starts this season. He has induced an NL-leading 32 double plays.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.