Matt Carpenter broke out of his slump with a homer and three hits, Dexter Fowler drove in three runs and the St. Louis Cardinals cruised to an 11-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies after a long rain delay Sunday.
St. Louis, which has won seven of eight and 13 of 16, swept the four-game series by a combined score of 31-12.
Nolan Arenado and Garrett Hampson homered for the Rockies, who have dropped six of seven.
Lane Thomas added a pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning for the Cardinals, who moved 2 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. It is their largest lead since they held a three-game cushion on May 1.
Ryan Helsley (1-0) picked up his first career win with 2 1/3 innings of relief. He gave up one hit, one unearned run and struck out four.
St. Louis starter Michael Wacha allowed six hits and three earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. He tied a season high with seven strikeouts.
Antonio Senzatela (8-8) was roughed up for six runs and five hits over 1 2/3 innings in his return from the minors.
Carpenter snapped a 4-for-29 skid with a 3-for-4 performance. He reached base four times, including his solo homer in the third that pushed the lead to 7-2.
Fowler added a two-run double in the fifth.
St. Louis, which is a season-high 13 games over .500 at 71-58, scored six times in the second. Tommy Edman, who had three hits, broke a 2-all tie with a two-run double. Paul Goldschmidt followed with a two-run single as the Cardinals sent 12 batters to the plate.
Arenado, who had three hits, hit his 33rd homer in the fifth. It was his 100th RBI, giving him five successive seasons of 100 or more.
Colorado is an NL-worst 18-39 since June 21.
The start was delayed by rain for 2 hours, 35 minutes.
ON THE MOVE
The Rockies optioned RHP DJ Johnson to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Senzatela.
Cardinals: INF Kolten Wong was held out of the lineup after fouling a pitch off his toe in the seventh inning Saturday.
Rockies: RHP Tim Melville (1-0, 1.29 ERA) will face Atlanta RHP Julio Teheran (8-8, 3.53) on Monday in Denver. It is a makeup of an April 10 game that was postponed due to snow. Melville earned a win on Wednesday, allowing two hits and one run in seven innings of a 7-2 victory at Arizona.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (9-9, 4.51) opposes Brewers LHP Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 3.64) in the first of a three-game series at Milwaukee on Monday night. Wainwright is 7-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 19 career starts at Miller Park.
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