CHICAGO (AP) — 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.

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CHICAGO, IL – JULY 22: Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs runs the bases after hitting a home run against theSt. Louis Cardinals during the sixth inning on July 22, 2018 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

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.

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CHICAGO, IL – JULY 22: Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs hits an RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals during the eighth inning on July 22, 2018 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Carpenter’s homer streak ended at six games, a single-season record for St. Louis.

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