Tyler O'Neill and Harrison Bader each drove in two runs during a five-run first inning Wednesday night for the St. Louis Cardinals, who remained atop the race for the second National League wild card by completing a three-game sweep of the host New York Mets with an 11-4 win.
The Cardinals (76-69) have won seven of eight. St. Louis extended its lead to 1 1/2 games over the Cincinnati Reds, who fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, and the San Diego Padres, who played the San Francisco Giants later Wednesday.
The Mets (72-75) fell five games behind the Cardinals. New York entered Wednesday 5 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Dylan Carlson had an RBI single in the first against Tylor Megill for the Cardinals, who finished with 16 hits while receiving at least one hit from every starter.
Bader (fourth inning), Paul Goldschmidt (seventh), Nolan Arenado (seventh) and Edmundo Sosa (eighth) all hit solo homers for the Cardinals. Goldschmidt and Arenado each added run-scoring singles later in the eighth.
Jon Lester (6-6), who batted before throwing a pitch in the first, won his 199th career game by allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits and no walks while striking out seven over six innings. The 37-year-old left-hander is 3-0 with a 2.72 ERA in his last seven starts.
Pete Alonso homered in the second, Jeff McNeil scored on an error by Sosa in the third and Kevin Pillar went deep in the sixth before the Mets threatened in the seventh against Andrew Miller and T.J. McFarland. Jose Peraza laced an RBI single to pull New York within 8-4 before Lars Nootbaar, who had just been inserted in right field in a double switch, reached over the right field wall to rob Alonso of a three-run homer.
McNeil finished with three hits while Pillar had two hits.
Megill (3-5) gave up six runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out three over a career-low three innings. The rookie right-hander lasted a career-high seven innings in his previous start last Friday against the New York Yankees.
--Field Level Media