Yadier Molina went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored, and five Cardinals pitchers held the Chicago Cubs in check in St. Louis' 5-2 victory over its NL Central rival at Busch Stadium.
A cramp forced Shelby Miller (8-4) out after five innings, but only after the right-hander held the Cubs scoreless by allowing just two hits and two walks.
Kevin Siegrist, Seth Maness, Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica closed out the win in relief for the Cardinals, who had dropped two of three against the Marlins over the weekend for their first series loss since April.
Chicago has dropped two straight following a three-game winning streak. Travis Wood (5-6) suffered the loss Monday despite a quality start, as he was charged with four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits over seven frames.
"They hit some good pitches," Wood said. "It wasn't enough."
The Cubs trailed 4-0 entering the eighth inning and finally got on the board on an RBI single by Nate Schierholtz. Mujica stranded two in the frame, however, and the Cardinals tacked on an insurance run in the bottom half on Allen Craig's sacrifice fly.
Mujica served up a solo homer to Darwin Barney in the ninth, but still picked up his 20th save.
The opener of the four-game series was moved back two hours due to rain, and Miller showed the effects of the delay in the fifth when he appeared to suffer from cramps in his right leg. The rookie stretched out the injury and finished the inning unscathed but was pinch-hit for in the bottom half.
"I wanted to keep going...but (manager Mike Matheny) wanted to be cautious," Miller said. "He didn't want anything serious to happen."
Wood matched Miller over the first three frames before succumbing to the heart of the Cardinals' lineup in the fourth. Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday opened the frame with singles, and Molina found the gap in right to bring both runners home.
The Cardinals got a gift run in the seventh on a haphazard play when Molina was tagged out at the plate but was ruled safe. After Anthony Rizzo's errant throw hit the backstop, replay showed Wood clearly blocked Molina from sliding into the plate cleanly, but home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn saw otherwise.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum was ejected for arguing the call, and St. Louis added a run later in the frame on Shane Robinson's pinch-hit sacrifice fly.
Miller struck out five in his short outing and lowered his ERA to 2.08 ... The Cubs have lost five in a row in St. Louis. They were outscored, 23-1, in their last visit from July 20-22 last season .. Barney's homer was Chicago's only extra-base hit.