Game Report: Cardinals 3, Giants 0

In his minor-league career, Alex Reyes never made a start when he went seven innings and did not allow a run.

He decided to wait to do that until he reached the majors, and do it in the middle of the playoff race, on the road against one of the two teams the Cardinals are chasing for a wild-card spot.

Reyes allowed just four hits, only one of which left the infield, over those seven innings on Sunday and another rookie, Aledmys Diaz, hit a two-run homer as the Cardinals climbed back within one game of a playoff spot with the win over the Giants in San Francisco.

The Mets, by virtue of their win over the Twins, moved into the top spot in the wild-card battle. They lead the Giants by one game, and the Cardinals are now one game behind the Giants.

The Cardinals have 13 games left in the regular season.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate:
Diaz’s 16th homer of the year came with two outs in the third inning, following a double by Matt Carpenter … They had only one more hit, a single by Randal Grichuk, before producing an insurance run in the eighth. Kolten Wong led off the inning with a triple and scored on a pinch-hit single by Jhonny Peralta … Diaz also doubled in the first but was left stranded at third and Yadier Molina was the only other Cardinal with a two-hit game with a pair of singles … Stephen Piscotty was 0-for-3 and finished the four-game series with just one hit in 14 at-bats.

On the mound:
Making his third start with the Cardinals as he replaced Jaime Garcia in the rotation, Reyes had by far his most efficient outing as he needed just 84 pitches to get through the seventh inning. He had only two walks and struck out six, and had to get out of jams in the fifth, following a leadoff single and an error, and in the sixth, when he left the bases loaded … The seven scoreless innings lowered Reyes’ ERA In the majors, including seven relief appearances, to 1.03. He has allowed just four runs in his first 35 innings in the majors … Kevin Siegrist pitched around a one-out single in the eighth, and Seung Hwan Oh, after pitching two innings in Saturday night’s win, worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 18th save.

Key stat: The win allowed the Cardinals to win the season series against the Giants, four games to three, which means if the two teams tie, their playoff game would be in St. Louis … The Cardinals and Mets split their season-series at three wins each, which means the tiebreaking criteria to determine which team would host a potential playoff game would be the team’s record within its own division.

Of note:
Reyes’ longest outing this season had been 6 2/3 innings for Memphis on July 4 … In his 69 starts in the minor leagues, the only two times he pitched seven innings were on June 11, 2014, for Peoria, and on July 29, 2013, for Johnson City, both times allowing one run … Home-plate umpire Brian O’Nora had to leave the game in the second inning when he was hit on the mask by a foul ball from Hunter Pence. Las Diaz moved behind the plate the remainder of the game was played with three umpires … Starting with the final out of the seventh, the Giants used seven pitchers to face the next seven hitters.

Looking ahead
: The Cardinals’ road trip will continue Monday night in Denver with the opener of a three-game series. Carlos Martinez will pitch against the Rockies’ Tyler Anderson.