ST. LOUIS (AP) - Jaime Garcia earned his first win since July 23 and drove in the go-ahead run to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
St. Louis, which began the day 8 1/2 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central, won for the fourth time in five games. Cincinnati has lost five of six.
Garcia (11-7) allowed two runs - one earned - and seven hits over six innings. He struck out six and walked one.
The left-hander gave up seven earned runs in his previous outing, a 9-4 loss to the Dodgers on Aug. 24.
The Cardinals skipped Garcia's turn in the rotation after that game, giving him nine days' rest heading into his outing against Cincinnati. He has thrown a career-high 170 innings this season.
Jason Motte got five outs for his second save. He has not allowed an earned run in his last 21 appearances.
Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer off Cardinals reliever Arthur Rhodes in the eighth to cut the deficit to 6-4. It was the 29th homer of the season for Bruce.
Garcia gave up a run-scoring double to Edgar Renteria in the first and an RBI single to pitcher Homer Bailey in the second before settling down. Garcia allowed just three hits over his final four innings.
St. Louis scored three times in the second and twice in the third to overcome an early 2-0 deficit.
Albert Pujols paced a 10-hit attack with a 2-for-3 performance. The three-time NL MVP is 8 for 11 in his last three games and has pushed his average to a season-high .296.
A run-scoring single by Gerald Laird and an error on left fielder Chris Heisey helped the Cardinals tie the game in the second. Garcia followed with a run-scoring single to give his team the lead for good, 3-2.
Pujols singled in Jon Jay to make it 4-2 in the third, then scored on a groundout by Lance Berkman.
Bailey (7-7) allowed five runs, four earned, in three innings, tying his shortest outing of the season. He had given up three earned runs or fewer in his previous four starts.
NOTES: St. Louis right-hander Edwin Jackson (11-9, 3.83 ERA) will face RHP Bronson Arroyo (8-11, 5.13) in the final game of the series Sunday. Jackson is 6-2 since the All-Star break. ... Cincinnati C Devin Mesoraco doubled in his major league debut as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning. ... The Reds, who split the first two games, have not won a series in St. Louis since sweeping a three-game set June 5-7, 2006, a span of 13 series. ... Cardinals SS Rafael Furcal had a string of three successive games with a home run snapped. ... St. Louis C Yadier Molina sat out with a mild calf strain. He is day-to-day.
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