CHICAGO — When the Cardinals arrived at Wrigley Field for a three-game series, manager Mike Matheny shook off questions about their 121/2-game deficit to the Cubs by insisting he avoids looking at the standings.
"It's just not allowing me to fall into the trap, the trap of either being content or being overwhelmed," Matheny said.
Three games later, St. Louis showed the NL Central might not be sewn up just yet.
Michael Wacha pitched effectively into the seventh inning, and the Cardinals waited out Jake Arrieta before roughing up Chicago's bullpen in a 7-2 victory Wednesday.
Aledmys Diaz hit a two-run homer and Matt Carpenter a two-run double in a five-run sixth after Arrieta left. The Cardinals won their eighth straight road game and completed their first three-game sweep at Wrigley Field since 1988.
"This is a big series for us," Carpenter said.
The Cubs' three-game skid matches their longest all season.
"Give them credit. They pitched well, they really played well and they beat us fair and square," manager Joe Maddon said.