Reyes started on three days' rest in place of ace Chris Carpenter, who was held back in order to start Game 1 of the National League Division Series. That series became a reality for the Cardinals at approximately 2:40 p.m. CT, when the Astros lost to the Braves. St. Louis finished 1 1/2 games ahead of second-place Houston in the NL Central.
Prince Fielder and Geoff Jenkins both went deep against Reyes, and Corey Hart tripled and scored. The rookie was removed after seven batters for Brad Thompson, who held down the fort through the third. Jorge Sosa, Chris Narveson and Braden Looper all pitched in relief for the Cardinals.
Rookie right-hander Carlos Villaneuva held the Cardinals down for the second time in less than two weeks. St. Louis got on the scoreboard in the ninth on back-to-back solo homers by Chris Duncan and Albert Pujols.
The Cardinals won the NL Central for the third straight time. They will appear in the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less