ST. LOUIS — Ted Lilly won his seventh straight decision, and Cliff Floyd and Mike Fontenot both drove in two runs in the Chicago Cubs’ 7-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
Alfonso Soriano lacked only a home run for the cycle for the Cubs, who have won nine of 12 and pulled within two games of NL Central-leading Milwaukee. Chicago’s 31-15 record since June 3 is the best in the major leagues in that span.
Juan Encarnacion had four singles and an RBI for the Cardinals, who have lost the first two games of a seven-game homestand against the two teams they’re chasing in the NL Central.
The defending World Series champions, who have been bedeviled by injuries, are 45-52 and nine games out of first place.
Lilly (11-4) worked seven innings and gave up a run and six hits with two strikeouts and three walks. He topped his previous career best of six straight victories in 2003. He has been dominant in July, going 5-0 with a 1.83 ERA in five starts.
He added a run-scoring single off Troy Percival in the eighth.
Adam Wainwright (9-8) allowed six runs and nine hits in five innings. He had seven strikeouts.
Floyd and Jacque Jones had two-out RBI singles in the fourth to put the Cubs ahead 2-0.
The Cardinals shaved the deficit to one in the bottom of the inning when So Taguchi drew a leadoff walk, stole second on a pickoff play, went to third on Lilly’s wild throw and scored on Encarnacion’s hit.
Then the Cubs put it away with a four-run fourth that featured a triple by Soriano and doubles by Aramis Ramirez and Floyd. Floyd’s double drove in two runs, and Fontenot’s single made it 6-1.
Wainwright, who had won his previous three starts, has struggled in three starts against Chicago.