ST. LOUIS (AP) - Matt Adams had a two-run home run and the Cardinals broke open a tight game with four in the eighth to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals won their fifth consecutive game to maintain a one-game lead over Pittsburgh and a three-game advantage on Cincinnati in the NL Central. The Pirates finished a three-game sweep at Texas and the Reds knocked off the Chicago Cubs earlier in the day.
Milwaukee has lost three of five.
Brandon Kintzler (3-2) gave up three runs on two hits and a walk while only getting two outs. He surrendered a game-tying hit in the seventh before loading the bases with one out in the eighth.
Carlos Beltran's sacrifice fly off Michael Gonzalez scored Matt Carpenter to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. An error by catcher Jonathan Lucroy allowed Jon Jay to score and Adams followed with his 12th homer of the season.
Trevor Rosenthal (2-3) had a hitless eighth inning for the win.
The Cardinals broke through on an RBI hit from David Descalso. Matt Holliday led off with a single, the second hit against starter Marco Estrada, and moved to second on a two-out walk to David Freese.
Descalso sent Kintzler's second pitch down the left field line to score Holliday and tie the game at 1-1.
Estrada took a no-hitter into the sixth, losing it with two outs. Carpenter, who struck out in his first two at-bats, hit a liner that bounced just in front of the pitcher, nicked his leg and bounded to third baseman Aramis Ramirez. His throw pulled Juan Francisco off first base in what otherwise would have been a close play.
Estrada gave up two hits in 6 2/3 innings, struck out six and walked two. He's made six starts since returning in early August from the disabled list with a strained hamstring and has gone 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA in that span.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn had one of his best outings in more than a month. He went six innings and struck out 10, the third time this season he's reached double digits and the sixth time in 61 starts. He also walked two, including Scooter Gennett in the second that led to the Brewers' run.
Carlos Gomez singled with one out and moved to second on Gennett's walk. On a successful double steal, Gomez came home when Tony Cruz's attempt to get Gennett bounced into center field.
Lynn lost his previous five starts leading into Wednesday's game as his ERA rose to 4.37 from 3.78. He last win came Aug. 4, when he gave up two runs in eight innings in a 15-2 victory at Cincinnati.
Notes: St. Louis C Yadier Molina missed the game for "family matters," according to manager Mike Matheny. The Cardinals did not elaborate on the reason or say when the All-Star catcher would return to the team. ... St. Louis distributed 7,906 complimentary tickets to first responders and military personnel in honor of Sept. 11. ... Tyler Thornburg (1-1, 2.08) is scheduled to start for Milwaukee in the finale of the three-game set today and will face Joe Kelly (8-3, 2.74). Kelly has won his past five starts. ... Hockey great Wayne Gretzky watched the game from the front row.