SAN FRANCISCO » It’s coming together for Brandon Moss at the plate, and that’s helping the National League’s best team playing as well as ever.
Moss, Matt Carpenter and Mark Reynolds all hit home runs, Yadier Molina drove in two and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 7-5 on Sunday.
"My at-bats continue to feel a lot better than they were," Moss said. "I feel like I’m squaring it up more often and if I can do that, the results will come."
Jason Heyward added three hits and drove in a run for the Cardinals, who won for the seventh time in eight games. Greg Garcia also drove in a run.
"It’s coming together right now," Heyward said. "Hitting-wise, we’ve kept our heads up and kept plugging away."
Jaime Garcia (7-4) allowed season highs in hits (10) and runs (four) but was effective enough to improve to 4-0 over his past six starts. He did not walk a batter and struck out one, a season low.
"I made a few mistakes but I continued to battle," Garcia said. "I got some big outs when I needed them and that kept us in it."
Marlon Byrd celebrated his 38th birthday with a pair of doubles, a triple and four RBIs. Kelby Tomlinson also drove in a run for the Giants, who ended a 3-3 homestand.
Byrd might have collected a couple more RBIs if not for Moss’ diving catch in the third, stranding a pair of runners.
"It wasn’t the best read and I knew I had to dive to try and catch it," Moss said. "I broke back the way it came off the bat."
Chris Heston (11-8) returned to the rotation for the first time in two weeks. He was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento but did not pitch in a game, instead throwing two bullpen sessions.
"I don’t think that affected me," Heston said. "I felt fresh. I just got some balls up and they hit them hard."
Heston gave up five runs on nine hits in his 3 2-3 innings of work. He did not walk a batter and struck out one, matching his season low.
Brandon Belt had four hits and Buster Posey collected three hits for the Giants. Nori Aoki had two.
Kevin Seigrist pitched the ninth for his sixth save.
Carpenter hit the second pitch of the game for a home run as the first four Cardinals reached base safely. Stephen Piscotty singled, Heyward tripled and Molina singled.
The Giants got two runs back in the first on Byrd’s first double, but the Cardinals tacked on runs in the third, fourth and sixth.
"We added a few runs we really needed," Moss said.
Byrd, who doubled in a run in the sixth and tripled in another in the eighth, has 11 RBIs in his last four games.
Heyward was a home run shy of the cycle for the second straight Sunday. Piscotty finished the series 7 for 12 and with a seven-game hitting streak.
Cardinals: Right-hander Lance Lynn reported no problems with his right ankle, which he injured during Saturday’s game. He expects to make his next start.
Giants: Infielders Brandon Crawford (tight oblique) and Joe Panik (lower back inflammation) both took grounders Sunday. Crawford is expected to play Monday night against the Dodgers.
Cardinals: RHP John Lackey (11-8, 2.92) starts the series opener against the Nationals and LHP Gio Gonzalez (9-7, 4.11) on Monday night.
Giants: RHP Jake Peavy (4-6, 4.21) gets the call Monday night as the Giants open an important NL West series against the Dodgers and LHP Brett Anderson (8-8, 3.36) in Los Angeles.