ST. LOUIS, DEC. 13 -- If it was the St. Louis Cardinals' swan song at Busch Stadium, linebacker E.J. Junior wanted to go out a winner.

"As long as we finish strong, that's all that counts," he said after helping the Cardinals, who are considering moving to a new home, hold on today for a 27-24 victory over the New York Giants.

"I have a lot of ties here. I'm waiting for the announcement, then I'll reminisce."

Vai Sikahema gave 29,623 shivering fans who showed up for the Cardinals' 1987 home finale the most to cheer about. He brought the fans to their feet by scoring on a 76-yard punt return in the opening minutes. Moments later, his long kickoff runback set up a second score that helped the Cardinals outlast New York at the finish.

After the Giants gambled on fourth down and lost late in the second quarter, the Cardinals were able to take a 27-10 lead into halftime. Stump Mitchell got the score, which proved to be the game-winner, on a six-yard run. The Cardinals never scored again but withstood Phil Simms' 359-yard passing performance for New York.

His second-half effort included a 14-yard touchdown pass to Lionel Manuel, and then Joe Morris ran one yard with 12:52 left to make it close.

The Cardinals retained slim hope for an NFC wild-card berth, improving to 6-7. The defending league champion Giants fell to 4-9.

N.Y. Giants 7 3 7 7 24 St. Louis 14 13 0 0 27

First Quarter

STL -- Sikahema 76 punt return (Del Greco kick), 13:52

NY -- Bavaro 11 pass from Simms (Allegre kick), 11:38

STL -- Wolfley 6 run (Del Greco kick), 7:55 Second Quarter

NY -- FG Allegre 29, 4:03

STL -- Awalt 20 pass from Lomax (Del Greco kick), 9:25

STL -- Mitchell 6 run (kick failed), 13:50 Third Quarter

NY -- Manuel 14 pass from Simms (Allegre kick), 6:48 Fourth Quarter

NY -- Morris 1 run (Allegre kick), 2:08

A -- 29,623

Giants Cardinals First downs 23 23 Rushes-yards 16-62 38-158 Passing yards 335 164 Return yards 54 96 Passing 30-48-1 17-30-0 Sacked-yards lost 4-24 4-26 Punts-average 4-47 6-42 Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0 Penalties-yards 7-50 5-40 Time of possession 24:44

RUSHING -- N.Y. Giants: Morris 10-36, Adams 5-11, Galbreath 1-15. St. Louis: Mitchell 26-111, Green 1-26, W

PASSING -- N.Y. Giants: Simms 30-48-1, 359 yards. St. Louis: Lomax 17-30-0, 190.

RECEIVING -- N.Y. Giants: Bavaro 11-137, Galbreath 5-47, McConkey 4-72, Turner 4-56, Adams 3-10, Manuel 2-2

MISSED FIELD GOALS -- New York: Allegre 53. St. Louis: Del Greco 27.