Jose Quintana pitched seven effective innings, keeping Matt Carpenter in the ballpark and helping the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-2 on Sunday.
Quintana (9-6) allowed two runs and six hits, struck out six and walked four in his first start since July 10. The left-hander also matched his career high with 121 pitches after he got an extended break to work with pitching coach Jim Hickey on his changeup and get over some shoulder fatigue.
Kyle Schwarber hit a tiebreaking solo homer off Mike Mayers (2-1) with two out in the sixth inning, and the Cubs broke it open with three runs in the eighth. The NL Central leaders took three of five from the Cardinals in their first series after the All-Star break and moved 3 1/2 games ahead of second-place Milwaukee.
Carpenter's homer streak ended at six games, a single-season record for St. Louis.
The Cubs will host Arizona tonight as the Cardinals reamin on the road heading to Cincinati to begin a series with the Reds.