ST. LOUIS -- After seeing a streak of 14 straight series wins or splits end over the weekend in Miami, St. Louis went to work on a new one Monday night.
Shelby Miller pitched five shutout innings before leaving with an injury while Yadier Molina played the starring role offensively as the Cardinals notched a rain-delayed 5-2 win over the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium.
Miller (8-4) allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out five before leaving for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth. He suffered cramping in his right leg while throwing to Chicago pitcher Travis Wood.
Four relievers got the last 12 outs for St. Louis (45-25), with Edward Mujica picking up the last four for his 20th save in as many chances. The Cardinals maintained a 2 1/2-game lead in the National League Central over Cincinnati.
Torrential rains caused a delay of 1 hour and 59 minutes before the game's start, but it quickly settled into an expected pitching duel between Wood and Miller.
Both entered the game in the National League's top 10 in earned run average -- Wood at 2.65, Miller at 2.21 -- and each breezed through the first three innings. But the Cardinals finally cracked the code in their half of the fourth.
Aggressively swinging early in the count, St. Louis got leadoff singles from Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday. Allen Craig's deep flyout to right moved Beltran to third and Molina cashed the opportunity in by rifling a two-run double to the wall in right-center.
Wood (5-6) then yielded two runs in the seventh, with the first leading to the ejection of Cubs manager Dale Sveum. Following Pete Kozma's infield single with runners at second and third, first baseman Anthony Rizzo threw home even though Molina held at third.
The throw bounded off the backstop and Molina eventually scored, slipping his foot between Wood's legs as the pitcher tried to block the plate and receive the throw of catcher Welington Castillo. Sveum argued at length with plate umpire D.J. Reyburn and was ejected.
St. Louis added a sacrifice fly from pinch hitter Shane Robinson to make the score 4-0. After Chicago (28-40) scored its run on Nate Schierholtz's shattered-bat single in its half of the eighth, the Cardinals tacked on their final tally in their half of the inning on Craig's sacrifice fly.
Darwin Barney homered with two outs in the ninth to cap the scoring.
NOTES: St. Louis' Jon Jay owns the league's longest active errorless streak among center fielders at 213 games, dating back to Aug. 24, 2011. Jay, who's successfully accepted 502 chances in that span, needs 14 more games to pass Curt Flood for the club record ... The Cubs are averaging just 2.9 runs per game against NL Central teams and 4.9 runs against everyone else. Not surprisingly, they are 8-21 against their division and 20-18 outside it ... Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist has started his big league career with 6 2/3 scoreless innings, the longest such streak for a rookie lefty in club history. Siegrist pitched 1 1/3 innings Monday night after Miller departed.