MILWAUKEE -- John Lackey pitched seven shutout innings and the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals beat Milwaukee 6-3 Thursday night in a game delayed after Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson was hit in the head by a line drive.

The Cardinals swept the three-game series to extend their winning streak to four. They now lead second-place Pittsburgh by five games in the division race.

Nelson was struck in the back of the head by a liner from Tommy Pham in the third inning. Nelson crumpled on the mound and remained prone face down for about a minute.

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Nelson later walked off the field and was hospitalized after a CT scan showed a contusion.

There was a three-minute delay in the seventh when a fan was hit by a foul ball off the bat of St. Louis pinch hitter Matt Holliday. The fan got medical attention and was able to walk out of the stadium bowl.

Lackey (12-9) scattered five hits and two walks while striking out eight. He has a 2.23 ERA in his last 17 starts dating to June 15.

Pham tripled, doubled and singled, driving in two runs and scoring twice. Matt Carpenter got three hits, including a home run.

Nelson (11-3) took the loss and Milwaukee dropped its sixth in a row.

Carpenter singled to open the game and scored when Pham followed with a triple. Carpenter doubled and scored in the third and hit his 23rd homer into the second level of the right-field bleachers in the sixth.

Jean Segura hit a three-run homer with two outs in the Milwaukee ninth off Mitch Harris.

Pham's liner hit Nelson and ricocheted down the left-field line for a double. Nelson got to his knees and later stood up while Pham watched with a look of anguish.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: Holliday struck out in his first game since July 29. He had been out because of a strained right quadriceps. He fouled the first pitch he saw from reliever Cesar Jimenez down the right-field line, striking a fan.

Brewers: RF Ryan Braun was back in the lineup after being scratched Wednesday with a back injury. ... Jonathan Lucroy remains out with concussion symptoms, but manager Craig Counsell said he expects his catcher to play again this year. ... RHP Matt Garza left the team this week to be with his wife as she delivers twins and the team said he would not return this season. Garza was removed from the rotation earlier this month and refused to pitch out of the bullpen.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: St. Louis plays a day game to open a three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Lance Lynn (11-10) will start and is 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA in his last two starts, giving up nine earned runs in just 8 1/3 innings.

Brewers: The team opens a three-game home series with the Reds, and Cincinnati's Brandon Finnegan will make his first major league start Friday night. Finnegan, the 17th pick in the first round of the 2014 amateur draft by Kansas City, was traded to the Reds on July 26 in the deal that sent Johnny Cueto to the Royals. Finnegan has pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings over two relief appearances since joining the Reds.