Yadier Molina, Marcell Ozuna and Paul DeJong drove in three runs each to propel the visiting St. Louis Cardinals past the Milwaukee Brewers 12-2 Monday night.
The Cardinals won their fifth straight game and their 14th game in their past 17 tries. They extended their National League Central lead to three games over the idle Chicago Cubs and 5 1/2 games over the third-place Brewers.
Molina hit a two-run single in the first inning to start the Cardinals' onslaught. He tacked on a solo homer in the fourth inning.
Ozuna extended his hitting streak to seven games with a three-run double in the second inning as the Cardinals scored six times. DeJong added a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly as the Cardinals piled on in the late innings.
John Gant (9-0), the second of five Cardinals pitchers, earned the victory with 2 1/3 scoreless innings of middle relief. Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright exited the game with a 9-2 lead in the fourth inning after reaching 90 pitches.
Brewers starter Gio Gonzalez (2-2) allowed nine runs (seven earned) in five innings while taking the loss.
The Cardinals sent 11 batters to the plate in the second inning while racing to an 8-0 lead. Dexter Fowler produced his 19th RBI in 15 games with a single, Ozuna hit his bases-clearing double, and Harrison Bader hit a two-run double.
Cory Spangenberg's RBI single in the bottom of the inning put the Brewers on the board.
Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas left the game after two innings with a sore left palm and wrist. Manager Craig Counsell told reporters after the game that X-rays of Moustakas' hand were negative but that the veteran infielder was unlikely to see action in Tuesday's game.
Molina's homer made it 9-1 in the fourth inning. The Brewers then chased Wainwright in the bottom of the inning after Lorenzo Cain's RBI double.
DeJong's two-run homer in the sixth inning increased the lead to 11-2, and his eighth-inning sacrifice fly made it 12-2.
Earlier Monday, the Brewers released Opening Day starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, who has been sidelined with a lat strain. He was on schedule to return from the injured list at some point in September.
Meanwhile, Cardinals outfielders Jose Martinez (shoulder strain) and Tyler O'Neill (wrist strain) are close to returning to active duty. They played for Double-A Springfield on Monday night on rehabilitation assignments.