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ST. LOUIS (AP) — J.A. Happ can finally get a good night of sleep.
The St. Louis left-hander threw 5 1/3 shutout innings in the Cardinals’ 2-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
Nolan Arenado homered for the second game in a row and Happ combined with four other hurlers on a five- hit shutout.
St. Louis has won four of six. The Cardinals began the day two games behind Cincinnati and San Diego for the final NL wild-card spot. Cincinnati, which won the first game of the series, has lost five of seven.
Happ lasted just one inning and gave up seven runs on eight hits in a career-worst outing of a 12-2 loss at Cincinnati on Sept. 1
That performance stuck in his mind.
Happ was acquired from Minnesota at the trade dead- line. He compiled a 3-0 record in August before that pounding by the Reds.
Arenado hit a two-run homer in the first off Sonny Gray (7-7), who then retired the next 14 hitters. Arenado, who has 31 homers, also homered in the eighth inning of the Cardinals’ 6-4 victory Saturday night.
Luis Garcia, McFarland, Genesis Cabrera and
Giovanny Gallegos finished, with Gallegos picking up his eighth save in 15 opportunities.
McFarland got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground into an inning-ending double play in the seventh.
The bullpen allowed just three hits over 3 2-3 innings and combined for six strikeouts without a walk.
Both teams remain opti- mistic as the season heads into the final three weeks. St. Louis manager Mike Shildt compared the playoff drive to a horse race.
The Cardinals have won nine of their last 12 day home games. They are 15-9 at home in afternoon con- tests this season.
Cardinals: RHP Dakota Hudson continued his rehab stint with a start Sunday night for Double-A Springfield. He has not allowed an earned run in three previous minor league starts covering 8 2-3 innings.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (15-7, 2.98) will face New York Mets LHP Rich Hill (6-6, 3.82) on Monday in the first of a three game series in New York. Wainwright is 6-6 with a 4.95 ERA in 13 career starts against the Mets.