Dylan Carlson hit two homers and drove in five runs to propel St. Louis past the visiting San Diego Padres 8-2 on Friday, giving the Cardinals a sixth consecutive victory.
The switch-hitting Carlson hit a solo homer from the left side and a grand slam from the right side.
Tyler O'Neill added a two-run homer for the Cardinals (77-69), who moved 1 1/2 games up on the Padres (76-71) in the race for the second National League wild-card slot. The Reds (77-71) beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 on Friday, so Cincinnati remains one game back of St. Louis.
San Diego has lost six of its past eight games.
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas (1-2) delivered his best performance since returning from forearm and shoulder injuries in late August. He blanked the Padres on three hits through 5 2/3 innings. Mikolas walked two and struck out three.
Padres starter Vince Velasquez (3-7) allowed four runs on four hits in four innings, with no walks and four strikeouts.
The Cardinals struck first, scoring three times in the first inning. Tommy Edman hit a leadoff double and scored on Paul Goldschmidt's single. O'Neill followed with his two-run homer to put the Cardinals up 3-0.
Velasquez settled in to retire 11 straight batters until Carlson's homer in the fourth inning made it 4-0.
Mikolas limited the Padres to two hits through five innings. He exited in the sixth inning after allowing Manny Machado's two-out double.
The Padres cut the deficit to 4-2 in the seventh inning. Tommy Pham hit a leadoff single, and Eric Hosmer followed with a double.
Luis Garcia relieved T.J. McFarland and walked Trent Grisham with one out to load the bases. Pinch hitter Jake Cronenworth lofted a sacrifice fly, and Jurickson Profar hit an RBI single.
Garcia finally got Fernando Tatis Jr. to pop out to end the inning.
Goldschmidt hit a leadoff double in the eighth inning off reliever Austin Adams, and Arenado drew a one-out walk. Adams hit Yadier Molina with a pitch to load the bases.
Ross Detwiler relieved Adams and allowed Carlson's victory-sealing slam on a 1-1 fastball.
--Field Level Media