Kyle Lohse and the short-handed St. Louis Cardinals won for the sixth time in seven games, holding their lead in the NL wild-card race with a 6-3 win Sunday over the Chicago Cubs.
Minus All-Stars Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran from the starting lineup, the Cardinals stayed 2½ games ahead of Milwaukee for the second wild-card spot.
Lohse (16-3) made his team-leading 32nd start, giving up three runs and five hits in six innings.
Jason Motte earned his sixth save in the Cardinals' last seven games, and now has 40 saves this season.
Molina did not play for the defending World Series champions because of lower back spasms, having hurt himself while getting out of the way of a pitch Saturday. The catcher was feeling better, manager Mike Matheny said, still had some discomfort.
Beltran did not start because of what Matheny believed to be food poisoning. The outfielder had a pinch-hit RBI single during a two-run eighth.
Allen Craig got three hits and drove in two runs for St. Louis....