St. Louis right-hander Jason Marquis hit a two-run double and pitched seven shutout innings for his eighth straight win, 6-0, over the Reds last night in Cincinnati.
Reggie Sanders and Jim Edmonds each hit a solo homer to back Marquis (11-4), one of three Cardinals pitchers with double-digit wins. Edmonds leads the NL with 11 homers in July.
The Cardinals are 10-3 since the all-star break, surging to the majors' best record and a daunting double-digit lead in the NL Central. Half of those wins have come against Cincinnati, which is 2-10 against St. Louis this season.
The Reds managed just three hits as they lost their seventh in a row overall, matching their worst slump of the season. Cincinnati slipped below .500 for the first time since right-hander Cory Lidle (6-9) lost the season opener.
Marquis hasn't lost since May 26, going 8-0 with a pair of no-decisions and a 2.90 ERA. He left the game for a pinch hitter in the eighth, having thrown 99 pitches.
Marquis also doubled home a pair of runs with two outs in the third inning off Lidle, who struggled with his control in a five-inning stint. Marquis's 13th hit this season -- the most by any pitcher in the majors -- put the Cardinals ahead 5-0.
"I just feel comfortable with it," Marquis said of his hitting. "I work on it between starts. I just have fun with it."
* ROCKIES 7, DODGERS 2: Aaron Cook pitched into the eighth inning for his first home win in a year, and Jeromy Burnitz homered for the fifth straight home game and drove in four runs for Colorado.
Todd Helton and Todd Greene also homered for the Rockies, who had 15 hits to snap a three-game home losing streak.
Paul Lo Duca hit his 10th homer, but Los Angeles stranded 10 runners to end its run of nine straight wins away from Chavez Ravine.
* GIANTS 6, PADRES 4: Jason Schmidt (13-3) pitched eight innings to beat host San Diego for the first time in three starts this season and Dustan Mohr went 3 for 3 with a two-run homer for San Francisco, which ended a six-game losing skid against the Padres.
* PIRATES 8, BRAVES 4: Rob Mackowiak came around to score on a bizarre, bases-loaded double when Atlanta catcher Johnny Estrada made two errors in a span of seconds, and host Pittsburgh rallied with a five-run seventh inning.
The two errors ruined what had been another big night for Estrada, who homered to make it 4-1 in the top of the seventh and doubled to start a three-run fourth.
* MARLINS 5, PHILLIES 2: Mike Lowell hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning and Florida set a franchise record for consecutive home wins against one opponent.
Philadelphia has lost 12 consecutive games in Miami, including five this year. Florida improved to 9-1 against the Phillies this season and has won 21 of their past 24 games dating from last year.
* METS 4, EXPOS 2: Tom Glavine got his first win since June 13, Mike Cameron hit a three-run homer and New York ended a four-game skid and host Montreal's five-game winning streak.
* ASTROS 10, DIAMONDBACKS 3: Adam Everett hit two of Houston's season-high four homers and Roy Oswalt (10-8) pitched seven innings of two-hit ball to beat visiting Arizona, which lost again after snapping a 14-game losing streak the night before.