Chris Carpenter won his 10th straight decision despite laboring at times, Skip Schumaker was 4 for 4 with two RBIs and the St. Louis Cardinals clobbered the Milwaukee Brewers 10-3 on Wednesday night.
Yadier Molina had a pair of RBI doubles and finished with three hits for the NL Central leaders, whose 10 1/2-game lead is the best in baseball. Troy Glaus, activated from the 60-day disabled list from a shoulder injury Monday, struck out as a pinch hitter to end the sixth in his first at-bat of the season.
The Brewers had runners in scoring position every inning except the sixth, the final inning for Carpenter (15-3), when he retired the side in order.
The St. Louis offense made those struggles a moot point, finishing with 16 hits off Dave Bush (3-6) and the Brewers' bullpen. The Cardinals have scored 17 runs in the first two games of the three-game series.
The Cardinals are 31-4 since July 1 in starts by their big three of Carpenter, Adam Wainwright (16-7) and Joel Pineiro (14-9), and are a season-best 24 games above .500. Although shy of his best stuff for the second straight start despite an extra day of rest, Carpenter is 10-0 with a 2.17 ERA in his last 12 outings and leads the majors with a 2.28 ERA.
Casey McGehee had two hits and RBIs and has six RBIs in the first two games of the series for Milwaukee. Frank Catalanotto singled three times.
The Cardinals, swept in a three-game series at home by Milwaukee in mid-May when the Brewers were 10 games above .500 and in first place in the Central, have taken six of the last seven in the season series.
Bush lasted only 3 1-3 innings and allowed eight runs in his second start coming off a triceps injury from getting struck by a line drive, an injury that sidelined him for two months. Both of his post-injury starts have been messy and the right-hander is 0-6 with a 10.50 ERA in eight starts since his last victory on May 19 at Houston.
Bush hit two batters, including Carpenter while attempting to sacrifice in the second, and leads the majors with 12 hit batsmen in only 89 innings.
The Cardinals left the bases loaded in the first when Bush got Mark DeRosa on a flyout, then got untracked with six runs on six hits in the second. Pujols had a two-run opposite-field double on a pop fly down the right field line that eluded Catalanotto and Schumaker had a two-run opposite-field single.
Carpenter is 9-0 with a 1.99 ERA against the Central this season and 35-12 for his career. However, it was his first victory over the Brewers since April 27, 2005, evening his career record against Milwaukee to 3-3.
NOTES: Second-base umpire Mike Everitt stayed in the game after getting struck on the leg by Catalanotto's liner in the fourth, a ball that was going through anyway. ... Molina's ground-rule double in the fourth fooled the fireworks operator, who believed it was a home run and fired off a few quick salvos. ... St. Louis reliever Jason Motte struck out five in the seventh and eighth, allowing a hit and a walk.